by Sidhartha Banerjee
B2B Canada is probably the most comprehensive study of business-to-business
e-commerce in Canada. And unlike other aspects of the bustling, evolutionary
e-business industry, the book may still hold that distinction five years
The writers, Journalism lecturer Matthew Friedman and his partner, Marlene
Blanshay, have broken down the principles and terminology of the new e-business
and electronic economy into digestible chunks that can be easily consumed
by any reader.
We wanted to provide the context of what was going on, not tell
people what to buy. We arent in the PR business, Blanshay
said. Certain issues of e-commerce wont change, since they
are issues and themes which apply to business in any form.
Writing their first book together took eight to 10 months, about
five dog years in technology, Blanshay said.
If they had reviewed or recommended specific products, she said, it
would have been dated when it was released. Some of those companies wont
exist in a couple of years.
B2B Canada was published by Macmillan Canada in December. Friedman
said, Our goal was to provide some insight and knowledge so that
smart business people could make informed decisions for themselves. When
you cut through the jargon and the hype, the story of electronic commerce
is a ripping yarn, and we wanted to tell it that way.
Friedman and Blanshay, both Concordia graduates, are business journalists
who have specialized in information technology for local and national
publications. Because they track the industry on a daily basis and have
a wide interest in electronic commerce, they have a perspective some writers
Were journalists, which means we are careful observers,
Friedman said. We have no vested interest in electronic commerce,
yet we have spent the last few years watching it evolve.
Friedmans first book, Fuzzy Logic: Dispatches from the Information
Revolution, won the 1998 Quebec Writers Federations First Book
It was Blanshays first time writing a book, but she adapted well.
Id only written features and stories, so an entire book seemed
about as doable as walking across North America, she admitted. It
was horribly stressful at times because of the deadlines.
The American version of the book, titled Understanding B2B and
published by Dearborn Trade, is due in May. With B2B Canada already
one of the best-selling business books in Canada, it is likely the Americanized
version will follow suit.
Electronic commerce isnt just an alternative way of doing
business, Friedman said. Its the way business is done.