Last week Publishers Weekly posted an interesting article about how ebooks could be coming to grocery stores, drug stores, and other mass-market retailers in as little as six to eight months, maybe sooner.
At this stage in ebook evolution it still seems a bit odd to buy ebooks from stores like Walmart and Walgreens, but that’s where things could be headed with a new partnership between txtr, a German-based ebook company backed by 3M, and ReaderLink, whom distributes print books in the U.S. to all kinds retails stores.
ReaderLink’s plan is to allow individual retailers to setup ebook stores from their websites rather than sell them in stores. They may also plan to sell the ultra-cheap txtr beagle ereader from stores, along with a low-cost tablet.
The idea is to use txtr’s ebook library, cloud storage, and an open device approach. The ebooks are in ePub format and have Adobe DRM so they will work with pretty much any tablet and ebook reader except the Kindle.
This partnership gives retailers like Target and Walmart the opportunity to sell content for ebook reader and tablet devices that they are already selling. Each retailer has control over their own marketing and retailing strategy in regards to selling ebooks so it will be interesting to see what they choose to do in the upcoming months.
Something tells me it’s not going to be easy to get retail stores to get on board with the idea of selling ebooks. Paper books are one thing; ebooks are a completely different animal that requires specialized knowledge and technical support. I can’t wait to see how this plays out, but wouldn’t be surprised to never hear of it again.