More than 130 independent booksellers have signed up to the new Indie eBook Shop already, with the figure expected to increase to around 400.
National Book Tokens (NBT) launched the service at the London Book Fair in April, giving independent booksellers 17.5% commission on e-book sales through the site, which is powered by Gardners.
NBT’s managing director Alex de Berry said he was impressed with the encouraging reaction from booksellers to the proposition so far. He told The Bookseller: “It’s going really well—we continue to get good feedback on it, even though it is still relatively early days. We have sent emails to 850–900 indies, and now we are about to start the chase-up process, talking to people about how it might work.”
The Indie eBook Shop offers 430,000 titles, which are all in the EPUB format and can be read on all e-readers apart from Amazon’s Kindle. The 17.5% commission offer gives the site a competitive edge, and is thought to be around double the figure offered by competitors Kobo and Gardners’ Hive. However, the prices of the e-books are set at r.r.p.
De Berry said that conversations with publishers on how e-books could be practically marketed within bricks-and-mortar stores were taking place. “We hope publishers understand there is a new channel to sell e-books and booksellers are more likely to engage with publishers who engage with it. If they do so they will sell more books, and if they don’t then they won’t,” de Berry said.
Patrick Neale, Jaffé & Neale Bookshop and Café manager and Booksellers Association president, said: “I am over the moon with the Indie eBook Shop, very happy. Yet again Book Tokens is helping booksellers compete in the 21st century. It looks great and it is certainly the best terms booksellers can expect. Whether there is a lot of money to be made, I don’t know, but at least we can have a go and say ‘We can do that too’, rather than just sit back and say ‘We can’t’.”