Thursday, 11 August 2011
Books for Cooks signs with to sell ebooks

Books for Cooks, the Melbourne-based bookshop that was the state specialist bookshop of the year at this year's Australian Book Industry Awards, has signed with Inventive Labs to sell ebooks via the platform.

Co-owner Tim White told the Weekly Book Newsletter that the store expects to launch its ebook collection ‘within four weeks'.

‘At that point we will be selling antiquarian, vintage, second-hand, new and ebooks in our area of speciality,' says White, adding that the ebook range will include ‘any good books about wine and food that we can get'. ‘This includes books on food anthropology, sociology, food art, restaurant guides, food history, culture, fiction...'

Murdoch Books currently has ‘a small range of cookbooks and we expect that to broaden, particularly for convenience and home cooking', says White. ‘Other publishers are tiptoeing in this area and we will be talking to as many as possible.  We will stock recipe books wherever possible and we are looking at options in relation to older books pre 1950s that had little if any colour or images.'

‘We don't believe current ebook formats suit traditional image-rich beautifully designed books or are necessarily practical for kitchen use,' says White, ‘but we do believe that no one particular format--physical or ebook--is the only format for all readers or all books.'

White said he expected the developments in ePub3 to have an effect on the range of cooking books available and said the store was also looking at a number of indent titles that are available in ebook formats.

‘We have not been asked for ebooks but we do know that our customers vary widely in their reading habits and many have experienced ebooks over the past year or so,' said White of the decision to provide ebooks. ‘We are including ebooks in our offering because they are another form of the book, to enhance our offering and because we are booksellers.'

White said that the Books for Cooks website, which currently lists the store's complete range of new and old stock, would identify ebooks available to purchase ‘which can then be purchased with a click or two via our website'.  ‘We are looking at ways of integrating our catalogues but at present the separate channels require separate payment and delivery solutions,' he says.

While he says bundling print and ebooks ‘is a sensible and logical way forward' White says this is ‘an area where some logistical and commercial issues need to be dealt with at a much higher level by publishers in particular'.

As for the decision to go with, White said the store chose Inventive Labs' platform ‘partially because they are a local supplier and we like to support local businesses but also because we don't believe that any form of the book should be proprietary and "owned" by someone like Amazon, Apple, Kobo or B&N with their proprietary, locked/limited-use models'. ‘The ebooks we sell will be available for our customers to read on any web-browser enabled device from anywhere in the world,' says White.

Virginia Murdoch of Inventive Labs told the Weekly Book Newsletter that ‘the kind of laser-focussed area of speciality offered by Books for Cooks, as well as their specific and passionate audience, is of great interest to us, because we think that's where the indies are very strong'.

Bookselling chains Gleebooks and Fullers have recently signed with Readings was the first store to announce it would be launching its ebookstore on the platform late last year.

In related news, the ReadCloud platform has signed almost 30 independent booksellers with further signings likely to be announced shortly. The platform will also give booksellers the opportunity to sell an as-yet-unnamed ereader.

ebooks ereaders inventivelabs booksforcooks