BOL, Bertelsmann's online bookshop, added Italy and China to its roster last month, bringing the number of countries where BOL does business to 16.
The German media giant teamed with Mondadori, Italy's leading publishing house, in a joint venture to sell books online to Italians. It.bol.com offers readers a choice of 120,000 books in Italian, plus an array of reviews, reading tips and other services.
In China, bolchina.com is building on the success of the Bertelsmann book club, which has been active in Shanghai since 1997 and has 1.5 million members. Bolchina.com launched with an offering of 110,000 Chinese books.
It also plans to introduce other products this year, probably music and videos. The Chinese book market is considered the second largest in Asia with an estimated potential of $3.6 billion.
BOL has online shops across Europe, including France, the United Kingdom, Scandinavia, the German-speaking countries and Spain. In the United States, it has a 50 percent stake in BarnesandNoble.com. It also is active in Japan.