"The universe is made of stories, not of atoms."
—Muriel Rukeyser

HarperCollins Explores Ebook Bundling Avenues

HarperCollins and Ingram have teamed up with BookShout, a direct-to-consumer e-book platform, to set up a bundling program that lets independent bookstores offer customers physical and digital editions of a book. Eleven indie stores around the country are participating in the new program.

The program allows consumers to buy a physical copy of a book and for small fee, receive a digital edition via the BookShout platform. Founded by Jason Illian, BookShout is a direct-to-consumer e-book platform specializing in bulk e-book sales, digital book donations and e-giftcards.

Among the 11 indie bookstores participating in the program are Village Books in Bellingham, Wa., Politics and Prose in Washington D.C., Book People in Austin, Texas, and Books and Books in Miami, Fla. All the stores will feature displays highlighting the program.

When a customer buys a physical copy of one of the titles included in the bundling program, they can pay a small fee, get a BookShout code that lets them download a digital edition. Among the initial titles to be offered in the program are Richard Ford's Canada, Jess Walter's Beautiful Ruins, and Jacqueline Winspear's The Care and Management of Lies.

Chantal Restivo-Alessi, chief digital officer at HarperCollins, said all parties will be looking at data and feedback with the expectation of expanding the program in the near future. “This is a good first step in getting our bestselling content into reader's hands in a way that increases choices for them. We are happy to support our independent retail partners in putting forth a digital component to their customers.”

"It's a pleasure to craft these types of innovative services,” said John Ingram, chairman and CEO of Ingram Content Group. "We know that all of our publishing and retail partners are looking for new solutions.”

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