Shelfie, Goodreads Try To Boost E-Books

Andrew AlbaneseIn recent months, e-book sales figures have flattened or fallen. A pair of e-book sales initiatives announced this week could provide a boost to publishers’ digital fortunes.

Shelfie, the book discovery app that allows readers to essentially digitize their print libraries through discount e-book bundling, announced a partnership with the Harvard Book Store in Cambridge, Mass., to offer digital editions of four print books. The deal is the Canadian startup’s first test as a bookstore promotional tool in the U.S.

“Harvard Book Store kicked off the arrangement for a May 3 appearance with former Wired editor Chris Anderson, author of Ted Talks: The Official TED Guide to Public Speaking,” Andrew Albanese, Publishers Weekly senior writer, explained. “Those who purchase a copy of Anderson’s book from the Harvard Book Store will be able to get the e-book through Shelfie—once they sign up and download the app, sign the copyright page, and send a photo of the page to Shelfie to verify ownership.”

Meanwhile, Goodreads, the social reading community that Amazon acquired in 2013, is launching a free e-book giveaway to go along with its print giveaway program. The new beta Kindle e-book promotion will allow an author or publisher—whoever has distribution rights—to launch a promotion giving away up to 100 copies of a Kindle e-book.

“The Shelfie app underscores something I have never been quite comfortable with—and that is, publishers treat digital as a second bite at the apple. Print still accounts for most of their sales, so you buy a print book, and if, as a reader, you want the convenience of reading it digitally too, you have to buy it again,” Albanese tells CCC’s Chris Kenneally.

Every Friday, CCC’s “Beyond the Book” speaks with the editors and reporters of “Publishers Weekly” for an early look at the news that publishers, editors, authors, agents and librarians will be talking about when they return to work on Monday.

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