Carmichael’s Bookstore, one of the leading independent booksellers in Louisville, has recently begun selling e-books through their website through a partnership with Google and the American Booksellers Association. More than 250 booksellers nationwide are using the system, which allows independent bookstores to make money from e-books, a market previously reserved for giants like Amazon and Barnes & Noble.
The e-books can be downloaded through Carmichael’s website, and the store has also linked to books online through QR codes—a type of square barcode that can be scanned with a smartphone—which have been posted on their shelves next to bestsellers or staff picks.
“We have agreements with almost all of the major publishers now. The vast majority of titles are available through our website, and they are the same price as anyone else. Amazon, Barnes & Noble, anyone like that,” says Carmichael’s manager Kelly Estep.
Google e-books can be viewed on an number of devices, including Android phones and tablets, Apple’s iOS devices, Nook and Sony e-readers, and personal computers. They are saved in the cloud, and not limited to a single device. When downloaded from an independent bookseller’s website, both Google and the bookseller get a cut, with the publisher keeping the majority of the money.
“[What Carmichael's receives is] usually less, the e-books are typically priced a lot less, but again that’s something that varies by publisher, that’s up to the publisher really as to what percentage they split with us, and Google is also a part of that,” says Estep.
Carmichael’s is currently the only bookstore in Louisville using the system, but Poor Richard’s Bookstore in Frankfort Ky has also adopted the system.