Christian Retailing

Platform sought for delivering e-books Print Email
Written by Eric Tiansay   
Thursday, 15 July 2010 02:56 PM America/New_York

Publishing and retail leaders are working on an industry-wide platform for delivering e-books to Christian stores, to help them compete in the growing digital market.

An industry task force being facilitated by CBA includes representatives of leading stores and marketing groups, publishers and point-of-sale service providers.

The effort began at the International Christian Retail Show (ICRS) in St. Louis, where the impact of digital publishing on retailers was a major focus of the June 27-30 event.

The initiative aims to provide a way for Christian retailers to make e-books available to their shoppers online or in-store.

One option under consideration is the IndieCommerce white-label e-commerce platform serving general market independent bookstores, from Ingram--parent company of Spring Arbor (SA). Chris Smith, SA's director of sales, mentioned the possibility during ICRS' opening general-session panel, "Digital/Mortar: Store Value in a Digital Age."

In a briefing paper prepared for the Digital Summit held at ICRS, CBA said that the growth of e-book sales-estimated to increase 5-10% annually for the next few years-threatened the viability of Christian stores as a source for book buying.

The document expressed concern that some stores might abandon the category prematurely, as had happened with the digital revolution in music-though physical sales of music had not declined as much as some had predicted. The same give-up scenario with books "would dramatically change the face of the channel and the nature of Christian stores."

Advocating a channel-wide solution, the paper noted that Christian stores have "a unique position of trust to recommend, educate and connect with customers that can't be matched online."

Click here to read the full CBA briefing paper.