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Book Review: E-Commerce 2012 by Kenneth Laudon and Carol Guercio Traver

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E-Commerce 2012 by Kenneth Laudon and Carol Guercio Traver

E-Commerce 2012 by Kenneth Laudon and Carol Guercio Traver

In the past decade, ecommerce has grown to a mammoth-sized industry. Rather than being a side interest in a business degree program like it once was, it is now a required element of the overall curriculum.

But what about those who really want to delve deep into ecommerce? There have been plenty of books written on the subject, but most are oriented to the beginner. Others merely provide tips on starting an ecommerce business.

For a university level program, one good book that students can use is E-Commerce 2012 by Kenneth Laudon and Carol Guercio Traver.

The Authors

Professor Kenneth Laudon of New York State University and ecommerce professional Carol Guercio Traver have written more than a dozen books together on the subjects of online business and information technology/management.

They have also both written books with Laudon's wife, Jane P Laudon, who is also an expert on the topic.

The Content

The book has been praised as a thorough look at the intricacies of ecommerce as it stands in the year 2012. Even after 2012 has passed, this book retains its value as a milestone in ecommerce history. The authors have created a version of the book since 2003  -- an impressive run with constant updates that cover both the fundamentals and the evolving process of running an ecommerce business.

The book breaks ecommerce success down to three key elements:
  1. technology change, including discussing ecommerce websites

  2. business development

  3. social issues.

It explores how these three factors work together to generate demand, alter the capabilities of online selling, and even impact society as a whole.

While it properly addresses all of these facts, it does miss out on one major topic. It does not pay adequate attention to major success stories such as Amazon, eBay, and Expedia, among others. Despite this, many professors are opting to use this as part of their courses of global electronic consumerism and commerce.

E-Commerce 2012 is an excellent resource for an in-depth look at ecommerce and its trends. However, it would be better used with a companion work that focuses more on specific companies, and the differences between global electronic commerce and free services that drive profits.


  • Covers the fundamental truths of ecommerce in the modern day.

  • Thorough and well written.

  • Comes from two authors with plenty of education and experience on the matter.

  • Now in its 8th edition, this book has managed to impress with each update.

  • Can be used as reference material for a college level course.

  • Uses simple language to explain the concept, making it good for both beginners and advanced readers.

  • Not that expensive for a textbook.

  • Can be bought easily on Amazon, which offers free shipping to college students.


  • Doesn't take an in depth look at specific ecommerce businesses that have been successful in the industry.

  • Works as a comprehensive orientation to ecommerce, without any information on how to start your own business.

  • Not a step-by-step guide on the topic.

Conclusion This is an excellent book for students who are learning the basics of ecommerce. But it is not a book for those who are looking to learn about the topic in anything but a purely academic way. Those seeking a book on ecommerce that will teach them how to start and run their own business will find better options elsewhere.

If you would like to learn about setting up your own ecommerce business, here are some books that you could read instead:
  1. About.com
  2. Industry
  3. Ecommerce
  4. Ecommerce Book Reviews
  5. E-Commerce 2012 by Kenneth Laudon and Carol Guercio Traver

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