Google e-Books Decision Affects Local Bookseller

by Erin Keane on April 10, 2012

Internet giant Google’s announcement that it will stop allowing bookstores to sell e-books on the company’s platform will have local implications. Right now, Louisville bookseller Carmichael’s sells Google e-books on its website, but that will end early next year.

Carmichael’s Bookstore co-owner Carol Besse says Google’s decision is unfortunate for small booksellers, and the service has allowed Carmichael’s to get into the e-Books business on a level playing field.

“We were selling most e-books at the same price as Amazon. So for the first time ever we were able to compete on price,” she says.

Carmichael’s sells Google e-Books on their website through a service provided by the American Booksellers’ Association. The store likes offering loyal customers the option to buy e-Books from them, but overall, e-Book availability has little impact on Carmichaels’ bottom line.

“We have kind of shaped our customers as our customers have shaped us over the years and we have really hard core book lovers. We have some casual readers, but the things that are being read on e-platforms are a lot of generic books,” says Besse.

The service will continue through January 31. The ABA has not yet unveiled a replacement for Google Books, but the association plans to have something in place before the end of the year.

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