Bitingduck Press Introduces a New Way to Sell E-books

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E-books have traditionally competed with brick and mortar sales, but thanks to a new technology from independent publisher Bitingduck Press, any merchant can sell electronic books and receive credit--even when the customer makes the purchase outside the store.


Bitingduck Press

E-books can and should support brick and mortar stores

The sales of e-books surpassed those of print books for the first time in 2012, with adult e-books increasing nearly 30% since 2011 and young adult/children's books more than two-fold. Publishers of all sizes are turning to e-books, especially small independent publishers who cannot afford the costs of print production, warehousing, and distribution. This shift presents a dilemma for small publishing companies who wish to serve their communities: e-distribution has traditionally been done solely through large on-line distributors, with no way of supporting the local independent bookstores who can showcase the authors' work, offer readings and signings, and give customers a chance to browse.

Independent publisher Bitingduck Press, with offices in Altadena (Los Angeles County), California, and Montreal, Canada, wanted to find a way to support local businesses with electronic books. With a new technology called WebBytez (patent pending), a custom QR code is printed onto a postcard with each book's cover art and brief description. The QR code is custom to the book and the merchant. The postcards are displayed in a store and offered free to customers. When the customer decides to buy the book, he or she simply scans the QR code with a cell phone and buys the book from the publisher. A tag in the code identifies the merchant where the card was picked up, and the merchant receives a credit for the sale, as well as future sales to the same purchaser.

WebBytez is particularly friendly to bookstores, since the postcards may be placed next to print copies of the book for easy browsing. However, any merchant with room to display the cards can use the system. As just one example, WebBytez provides a fun way for coffee shops or restaurants to offer a full book catalog to customers with minimal shelf space. It is not even necessary to have a cash register to use the system, so no additional salesperson resources are needed. Book sales may also be made at vendor shows, literary festivals, bus stops, or just about anywhere. Cards and codes may be used by multiple customers and the bookstore will continue to be credited.

The Bitingduck Press WebBytez store will debut in mid-September at the press's web site. Over the next few months, several local merchants will be enrolled. The press is actively seeking merchants of any kind to help launch this exciting new effort. Founded by a small group of physicists in early 2012, Bitingduck Press is dedicated to the environment and to local communities, and wants e-books to help support the brick and mortar stores that readers and writers love.

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Jay Nadeau
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