Publishers Weekly posted an intriguing article on the possibility of buying ebooks directly from grocery stores, drug stores and other markets in the coming few months. According to the article, this can happen in next six to eight months or even before.
The newly born ebook market is still in its evolutionary period. It is still a bit odd to think of buying ebooks from the regular grocery or stores like Walmart and Walgreens, but this is going to become a reality sooner than we expect, thanks to the new deal between Txtr, the German ebook company with backing by 3M and ReaderLink, which is a print book distributor to every retail store in the US.
ReaderLink is planning to allow individual retailers to develop their ebook stores – from their websites, rather than physically sell them through stores. They are also planning to sell the inexpensive txtr Beagle ebook readers from stores with an additional cheap tablet.
“Our hope is to have something up and running in the next six to eight months,” says David Barker, the ReaderLink President. “We can move faster than that. We’re ready to go. There’s a significant amount of showrooming that goes on. Our idea is to let retailers capture those customers.”
“This partnership opens up an entirely new sales channel for our retail partners,” he continued. “Whether they are mass merchants, warehouse clubs, grocery chains, drug stores or department stores, they can quickly and easily begin offering ebooks to their customers.”
The basic plan is to make use of txtr’s ebook library, cloud storage and any device that can function as a reader. The ebooks are available in EPUB format and come with Adobe DRM, making them readable on virtually every device available on the market, except for the Amazon Kindle.
This new deal provides retailers like Walmart and Target the grand opportunity to distribute reading content to the readers and tablets already being sold through their stores. Every retailer has the power to manage its marketing and retailing plans concerning the ebook sales, so it is on the retailers to choose their next course of action in the coming few months.
The decision will benefit the consumers more, as Barker adds: “They will have the freedom to shop for ebooks from a variety of retailers, not just one or two large players, providing them with the best possible price and selection without committing them to one retailer for all of their future purchases.”
Although this seems a fabulous idea, it looks like it will not be an easy task – to bring all retail stores in line with the idea of selling ebooks. Hard cover and digital books are completely separate entities. Selling ebooks requires technical support and knowledge that are not essential when dealing with the hard cover books. It will be interesting to see how things will turn out regarding this idea, but it won’t come as a shock if this project comes to a halt before even beginning.