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Vertical electronic marketplaces often suffer from the low level of liquidity. Attracting members is critical, however, not even a sound and efficient IT and logistic background is enough to convince both the supplier and the customer side. In this paper the authors present the case study of Sunbooks Ltd. This venture has started to transform the Hungarian book trade market that suffers from serious deficiencies in field of information and material flow. Despite the vast investments and that the marketplace is prepared to serve the whole Hungarian book industry, the market share started to grow very slowly. The authors identify three contingency factors which can be accounted for the evolution dynamics of this virtual network. They explain how the business model is subjected to the evolution of market characteristics, and how the third factor, the “soft issues” determine the evolution opportunities even in a supporting market situation.

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