The Power of the Middleman in Electronic Markets - The Case of the German Bookselling Industry

Carsten Orwat, Ulrich Riehm, Bernd Wingert

Congress "Innovations for an e-Society. Challenges for Technology Assessment"
Berlin, Germany, October 17-19, 2001


The paper focuses on the hypothesis of "disintermediation", that establishes a diminishing role for traders, or intermediaries respectively, with the arrival of electronic commerce, because producers and consumers may transact online in a direct way. However, the analysis of the German bookselling industry, which has a relatively well-established branch of b2c electronic commerce, presents an ambiguous picture of disintermediation. Structural changes which are not only caused by technological development, result in a wide range of types of traditional and new online intermediaries which fulfil specific combinations of intermediary functions.


Dr. Carsten Orwat
Forschungszentrum Karlsruhe
Institut für Technikfolgenabschätzung
und Systemanalyse (ITAS)
Postfach 3640
D-76021 Karlsruhe
Hermann-von-Helmholtz-Platz 1
D-76344 Eggenstein-Leopoldshafen
Tel.: +49 (0) 721 / 608 - 22989
Fax: +49 (0) 721 / 608 - 24806

Internet: Homepage von Carsten Orwat

Last update: October 12, 2001 - Comments to:     Carsten Orwat