With the wealth of technology available, it is now more easy and affordable than ever to set up a marketplace. However, operating and scaling it sustainably is no small feat. Additionally, each marketplace faces its own unique set of challenges.
That’s why Arcadier has compiled a list of recommended books about building the marketplace business. These books will open up business owners and executives to the role of online marketplaces in today’s digital age. It will also help marketplace owners and operators understand the how they fit into sharing economy, as well as learn from marketplace platforms that have made it big.
Here are our favorites:
A pioneer of the collaborative economy, Robin Chase is the co-founder of American car-sharing company Zipcar. She talks about how the collaborative economy brings together “strengths of localization, specialization, and customization” from individuals and the “industrial strengths of significant scale and resources” of corporations, making it possible for companies to grow more quickly, learn faster, address climate change, and deliver smarter products and services.
David S. Evans and Richard Schmalensee
The concept of matchmaking has been around since time immemorial, and they exist today in the form of multisided platforms. The authors talk about the most valuable startups and dynamic public companies that have cracked the code of the matchmaking business model and what they have analysed and discovered during their study. Topics discussed include how to overcome the chicken-and-egg problem, reducing friction, pricing, and designing the platform to enhance the value of interactions.
Alex Moazed and Nicholas L. Johnson
From constructing a platform, building audiences, to creating network value, this captivating read explains the platform business model’s inner workings. The authors — both experts on platform technology — take the examples of platform businesses such as eBay and Amazon, which moved beyond the linear model, highlighting their successes and the greater entrepreneurial lessons to learn from their failures.
Sundararajan, an expert on the sharing economy, believes that we are transitioning into “crowd-based capitalism”, which he defines as “a new way of organizing economic activity that may supplant the traditional corporate-centered model.” He discusses the overreaching effects of the shift in government regulations, the labor market, and our social fabric. Published by MIT Press, this book draws on extensive research and numerous real-world examples.
Barry Libert, Megan Beck, Jerry Wind
Successful businesses today are characterized by transparent and collaborative networks. With tech startups like Uber and Airbnb disrupting their respective industries, investor capital, talent and customers are shifting toward network-centric organizations. Based on research that covers 1,500 companies, the authors stress the importance of harnessing network effects, co-creation and value sharing with stakeholders to succeed in today’s digital age.
Geoffrey G. Parker, Marshall W. Van Alstyne, Sangeet Paul Choudary
Two-sided markets that connect buyers and sellers are revolutionizing the way we do business. Dubbed as an “owner’s manual for creating a successful platform business”, this book explains the feedback loops and network effects that drive platform business dynamics. It also offers insights into the strategies employed by the world’s emerging platforms, ways to identify prime markets, how to monetize networks, and how to address essential marketplace issues like security, regulation, and trust.
Rachel Botsman, and Roo Rogers
The authors discuss the roots of collaborative consumption and how it’s transforming the traditional landscape of business, consumerism, and the way we live. For those who are interested in new business ideas that utilize the social power of collaboration, this book explores the emergence of entrepreneurs that aim to serve this new market, amounting to the creation of networks of shared interests which simplify ownership and the logistics of collective use.
Sangeet Paul Choudary
Part of why marketplaces can grow so rapidly is because they do not sell a product or service; instead, they are a “platform on which others can create and exchange value.” Choudary identifies six core concepts for successful platform business model design and brings readers up to speed on the concepts of aggregation, distribution, interaction, network effects, and data as currency.
Boris Wertz and Angela Tran Kingyens
Author Boris Wertz launched Abebooks, an online marketplace for books, way back in 1999. It was sold to Amazon, and Wertz went on to establish Version One Ventures. True to his roots, Wertz understands the importance of marketplaces in the future of ecommerce. In this short but comprehensive guide, the authors compile insights from working with great marketplaces and analyzing the industry. Get the free eBook here.
Don’t see your favorite marketplace guide on this list? Let us know in the comments below!