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Booksellers club calls in Kobo to aid indies

Small shops to get e-stores

WHSmith Kobo Touch e-book reader

Britain's Booksellers Association (BA) has hopped into bed with Japanese-owned Canadian e-book company Kobo in a bid to help the UK's independent bookshops fight back against Amazon.

Kobo already operates in the UK through a partnership with newsagent WH Smith. The deal with the BA will allow the trade organisation's 3000-odd members, a third of who are indies, to present Kobo's e-book store as their own. They will be able to sell e-books directly to their customers online, sharing sales revenue with Kobo.

BA members' share of the proceeds of each sale was not disclosed.

Still, it comes at a time when booksellers, independent ones in particular, are struggling. While e-book sales are rocketing, physical sales are down, the Publishers Association revealed today. Digital offerings have a long way to go to match the revenue generated by sales of dead tree books, but it's never been harder for small shops to compete with bulk-buying, discount-driven rivals like Amazon.

In August, Kobo struck up a similar deal with the American Booksellers Association, which numbers 2000 independent sellers among its members.

Kobo sells e-books in the ePub format. In addition to its own shopfront, it operates branded online bookshops on behalf of 14,000 booksellers in 12 countries, it claimed. ®

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