As the publishing and book selling industry changes with more people buying books in digital format, how will authors (and retailers) sell digital books in the physical realm—in bookstores and during book signings and author appearances?
Two companies have innovative solutions for this dilemma.
One company, Boxette, based in the United Kingdom plans to sell ebooks in boxes shaped to look like books on shelves. The company will load the ebook onto a USB drive in Kindle, EPUB, and PDF format. The USB drive will be placed inside the box, which will be made to look like the front and back cover of the book (think DVDs but books on a flash drive instead of discs). Boxette has just started. As yet, they have not placed their ebooks into any retail stores, but hope to do that soon. The idea is clever and may take off.
The other company, Author Solutions, a large self-publishing company recently purchased by Penguin, has launched a new program called BookStub for their authors. In essence, BookStub is a service where authors can sell their ebooks in person via a credit-card-sized voucher with a picture of the book cover on one side and a unique product code to download the ebook on the other side.
So, now instead of toting books around in the back of a car, an author can carry books around in his wallet. If Author Solutions can get retailers to buy into this program, the next step would be to have these cards displayed on racks next to bookshelves for readers to purchase the digital version of the book right in the bookstore.
If you are an independent author, you can use the BookStub idea for your books. Simply have business cards printed with the image of the cover of your book on one side and the website and product code where the reader can download your ebook (each product code would need to be unique and only allowed to be used once to avoid multiple downloads per card). Then, you too can sell digital books in person at all your author appearances and as you go about your everyday life.