Google Wants to Transform Indie Bookstores

Bookstores go digital with some help from Google

By Matt Baume
|  Sunday, Dec 12, 2010  |  Updated 7:49 AM PDT
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Google Wants to Transform Indie Bookstores

Bookstores can go digital with some help from Google.

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With independent booksellers closing all over San Francisco, the stores might've just found an unlikely savior: Google.

San Francisco's known for it's abundance of bookstores -- or at least, it was until recently. A wave of closures here in the Bay Area has reflected similar problems around the country. But Google's brand new online bookstore might give them a better means for selling their wares.

The new bookstore specializes on ebooks, but it also allows bookstores to sell digital titles through their own websites. That won't move any old-fashioned books (you know, the kind made out of paper), but it will help indie book stores keep up with the Kindle and iPad generation.

Digital book sales are currently hovering around $1 billion. That number is expected to triple in the next five years, and the number of ebook readers sold could quadruple.

Google's massive archive is derived from 15 million titles that it's manually scanned, as well as titles from publishers like Simon & Schuster and Random House. Other publishers and authors have proven more reluctant to allow their titles onto Google's platform, citing a desire to maintain more control.

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