New Android App Lets Users Buy E-Books From Independent Bookstores

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Credit: American Booksellers Association

As more independent bookstores partner with Google (NSDQ: GOOG) to sell e-books, the American Booksellers Association is releasing a free app that streamlines the buying and reading process.

The app, called the IndieBound Reader, lets users search for their local independent bookstore that sells Google e-books, log in through their Google account and buy and read books directly from the store. That’s how it works on Android, anyway, which supports in-app purchases.

The app is only available for Android now, but when the iOS version is launched–soon, the ABA says–it won’t include a purchase option, making it of more limited use to iPhone users, who will not be able to purchase from within the app.

About 330 independent bookstores are partnered with Google to sell e-books. here’s the full list. They’ve been promoting these e-books in various ways, and the app gives them another method of spreading the word.

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I must say this is quite a heartening development, though it’s sad to see only 330 bookstores participating.  Perhaps more will see the light and sign up … though Google, ironically, often seems to do a poor job of advertising its own capabilities.  There’s one interesting thing about this development, though: it allows you to choose any of 330 bookstores to be your local bookstore — not just the one down the block, assuming the one down the block is on the list.  So if you grew up, as I did, in St. Louis before moving to Long Island and then NYC a thousand years ago you can express your sentimental attachment to your old stomping ground by buying an ebook from a store where you *used* to live.  Come to think of it, Google should tweak Google Books by allowing the local bookstore to insert its name and address on the cover page of the ebook you buy.  It’d be a nice touch. 

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