All too often in publishing conversation, the talk turns with dread to the future of publishing—eBooks destroying publishing-as-we-know-it and pushing bookshelves into obsolescence, bookstores into bankruptcy, and authors into a world where consumers can find books only by intentionally navigating to a few major eBook retailer sites, or buying an ereader and downloading content. In the ebook world, how do you get people who don’t normally buy books to buy your books?
Recent news, however, should give hope that even IF the world goes all e-book (something which is likely still far in the future, if at all), there could still be an answer to that question. Overstock.com announced this week that they will be selling ebooks on their site in a partnership with Barnes and Noble’s Nook store (http://techcrunch.com/2011/12/06/overstock-barnes-noble/).
At the moment, this ‘partnership’ merely means that www.overstock.com/ebooks sends potential ebook buyers to a landing page with a list of genres and Top Sellers taken (I assume) from the Nook Store; selecting any book cover on the page sends them to the Nook Store for more detailed information about the books, further browsing, and the actual book sale.
As the industry still reels from the elimination of the lessened visibility of books caused by the closing of Borders, I believe it is heartening news to hear about non traditional stores getting into the business of ‘selling’ ebooks–reaching more consumers, especially those who would not normally pop into physical, let alone electronic, bookstores–in a way that could easily lead to an impulse buying and reading of an ebook.
While this news brings only a new storefront for books rather than a new retailer, I believe that technological advances, the lack of need for physical storage and lower overhead costs, along with the increasing sales in ereading devices will encourage other retailers to seek entry to the ebook world in even more significant ways, leading to cross-promotion of products with associated ebooks or other creative ways to get ebooks into the hands of interested consumers.