Australian eBook aggregator and distributor, Copia has announced a new partnerships with Australian Publishers Association (APA) and QBD The Bookshop, strengthening its eBook solutions for booksellers.
Copia, an e-reading software, book retail and social networking platform, that last year reached an agreement with the Australian Publishers Association (APA) to supply Australian booksellers with print and eBook retailing services, will power the eBook component of TitlePage Plus, a subscription-based supply chain solution for the book industry.
TitlePage Plus allows retailers to reach consumers through interactivity and a white-labeled (WL) version of the Copia app that lets independent booksellers brand the service and deliver eBooks to consumers. These eBooks feature built-in social functionality and enhanced metadata - including reviews and a discussion channel - to assist booksellers in finding and keeping customers. TheeReader app is available for consumers across platforms including iOS, Android, and Blackberry devices as well as for Windows and Mac desktops.
Australia’s largest company-owned retail book chain, QBD The Bookshop is the first bookseller to utilise the TitlePage Plus and Copia service. The partnership will run in a similar fashion to that of Copia and the APA, providing a digital distribution solution to QBD, which can now sell eBook titles to its costumers. Previously QBD had planned to offer eBooks via Google, until the latter announced plans to end its reseller program in which booksellers could sell eBooks from their own sites. To see the QBD version of the Copia eReader app,head here.
Copia's emergence in the Australian publishing industry is a response to the rise of digital reading habits and the expansion of the eBook market, which has been somewhat problematic for booksellers. Many independent bookstores have been excluded from the digital aspect of the industry by not having appropriate digital platforms to sell through, restrictive DRM practices and overseas competition from e-tailers like Amazon.
‘The Australian book industry values a partner like Copia to enable bookshops, retailers and publishers to compete against larger international outlets [covering the] emerging need for new platforms as the convergence of digital media and publishing becomes increasingly mainstream within this sector. Copia is proud to be a part of this evolution and to help drive this next wave of innovation,' said Copia’s Executive Vice President Ben Lowinger.
At the beginning of this month independent stores were dealt another blow. Until 30 June this year, many independent booksellers used the Booki.sh platform to offer customers eBooks, which not only provided a platform to sell through but also bypassed DRM by being browser-based. As of 1 July Booki.sh ceased retail services for Australian booksellers, leaving independent stores wondering what next, with many still without a solution. This week Readings stated on their website, 'Right now, we do not have a new ebook partner in place but we are continuing to look at alternatives.'
TitlePage Plus is also offering a Consumer Direct Fulfilment (CDF) service to provide retailers with a 'freight free' home delivery for customers. This initiative aims to compete with international companies that can deliver print books cheaper than Australian booksellers because Australia does not have a first class mail agreement with the Universal Postal Union. In the CDF supply is managed by the participating Publisher direct to the consumer and is jointly funded by booksellers and publishers through 'terms of trade' changes.
While this may sound like the perfect solution, not everyone agrees. Jon Page from Pages&Pages Booksellers believes that 'CDF will reinforce in consumers’ minds that freight is a cost that should be waived. Bookshops that don’t offer free freight, because they can’t afford too, will be marginalized.'
However, General Manager of Thorpe-Bowker Gary Pengelly believes that 'with Copia as the back-end, all bookshops no matter their size can extend the relationship they have with their customer to both printed titles and eBooks from the bookshop with 24/7 convenience'.
TitlePage is managed under licence from the APA by Thorpe-Bowker, the Australian office of RR Bowker a US based company who provide 'workflow solutions' to the global publishing community.