Wow. In school your supposed to figure out the how ecommerce is working online, what is wrong with ecommerce, and where it will be in the upcoming years. Oh, and by the way you'll receive no money for figuring this out just an "A" if your lucky. :) There are a "few" people in the world making 7 figure salaries trying to the above. I wonder if the community building idea is one that would work in the book industry specifically, but I don't feel that it works as a general principle in ecommerce as a whole (my .02 and solely my opinion as I am not making 7 figures). I am leaning towards the model that the purpose of the Net is to save time. Streamline the selection and ordering process to move customers through the site as quickly as possible. Offer detailed information on the product and uses for the product but as sidetracks from the main path from door to cash register. As time contraints increase as you try to balance a full career (alot of information in all fields to digest and react upon) and societies awaking realization that you need quality time (whether it be family, friends or just time to yourself) I believe that sites that help relieve this strain will prosper (Google comes to mind in the field a data indexing and retrieval). Though to qualify there are industries in which community building may work and one such may be the book industry as word of mouth advertising is a prime motivor for purchase (who hasn't purchased a book or movie based on a friends recommendation. Now what you if you provided a place for "virtual" friends to discuss the book in question).