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Google: No more e-books for indie booksellers

6 April 2012

From Paid Content:

Google is ending the program that allows independent booksellers to sell Google e-books through their websites. It is a big blow for small bookstores seeking to compete against Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

. . . .

Over 350 independent bookstores who are members of the ABA sell Google e-books through their websites. As of January 31, 2013, that relationship will end, cutting off “numerous online retailers, including IndieCommerce, as well as Powell’s and other partners in the United States and around the world, including partners in Canada, the UK, France, and Australia.”

. . . .

Google’s reasoning: “It’s clear that the reseller program has not met the needs of many readers or booksellers”

A post on the “Inside Google Books” blog, published at 11 AM ET after the ABA news broke, says the reseller program “has not gained the traction that we hoped it would.”

The company will now focus on selling e-books through Google Play, the rebranded Google eBookstore that launched in March and aims to be an iTunes-like competitor selling many different types of content. In an effort to ease the transition, Google says it will “work closely with our sixteen reseller partners as they transition in the coming months.

Link to the rest at Paid Content and thanks to Karl for the tip.

Any independent bookstore (or indie author) can still build an aStore, but that would require dealing with a successful online bookstore instead of Google.

Bookstores, Ebooks

2 Comments to “Google: No more e-books for indie booksellers”

  1. I can’t find a link at the moment, but my understanding was the bookseller’s cut from Google was closer to buying wholesale (~50%) rather than affiliate affiate revenue (~5-10%) that an Amazon aStore offers. It doesn’t seem like a financially viable alternative.

  2. I hadn’t tried buying a e-book from an indie store, mainly because it involved going through Google, an enormous corporation that hasn’t impressed me as a merchant. I get my e-books mostly from Amazon, an enormous corporation that HAS impressed me as a merchant.

    So now I’m wondering: Should indie bookstores even be trying to compete in the e-book arena? Is it likely that a genuinely independent selling platform that appeals to customers will emerge? I don’t think so. Indie stores are likely to remain at the mercy of large e-tailers who will not take their best interests into account when making business decisions.

    I think that the key to indie survival is to supply what e-tailers can’t: the up-close and personal touch. Successful indies I’ve seen have different ways of doing this–specializing, being present at author events, organizing literary lunches, book clubs, you name it. They have to be incredibly creative, in touch with what makes readers tick, and always up to date on what publishers are doing to increase the perceived value of paper books. They need to be in a location–and in touch with a demographic–where books on shelves are loved and appreciated. Chasing e-book sales seems to be a futile exercise.

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