Continuing to expand its strategy of powering independent book retailers, Copia, an e-reading software, book retail and social networking platform, has reached an agreement with the Australian Publishers Association to supply Australian booksellers with a full range of e-book and physical book retailing services as well as a full line of e-reading devices to offer its customers. The deal follows similar agreements with 900 U.S. college bookstores and an agreement with Brazil’s Submarino Digital Club, a multi-channel retail outlet, to power its book retailing channel.

The deal is the latest agreement by Copia to supply “white label” services--back-end e-book, print book and device fulfillment that can be branded by local retailers--to independent booksellers, according to Copia v-p, business development & content acquisition Sol Rosenberg. Rosenberg said the new Australian agreement will allow Australian independent booksellers—most of which do not offer online retailing and e-book download services—to compete against giant international retailers like “A few of the larger indie stores offer online retailing and e-books, some have partnered with Kobo or with Google to offer e-books but they have not had a long-term solution,” Rosenberg said. "Indies are important to us," Rosenberg said, "and we've been lookiing for a solution to help them compete." The program is launching today but it will be several months before the first of the Australian indie booksellers goes live online with the program.

Rosenberg also said Copia is working to craft a similiar program to offer U.S. independent book retailers and will likely offer such a program in the coming months.

Andrew Lowinger, CEO of Copia Interactive, said “We are excited to partner with the APA and Bowker to bring Copia’s capabilities to this exciting and vibrant market. As we have demonstrated in other geographies, the best defense for tier-one brands to protect their market is through strong partnerships.”

Under the Australian agreement, Copia will work closely with the APA to supply each independent bookseller with e-book retailing capability with fulfillment through Copia as well as online physical book sales with fulfillment through local sources. Copia will be working closely with Thorpe-Bowker, R.R. Bowker’s Australian bibliographic service and Title-Page, an Australian online title price and availability service, used by more than 2,800 booksellers and more than 1,600 libraries. TitlePage offers information on more than a 1 million titles.

Copia’s white label services will feature a full digital bookstore, online ordering of physical books and a full title catalog as well as social media, including group chat, online book clubs and user recommendations. In addition, note-taking and content sharing and a service to build and share personal libraries and a community value system are built into the Copia software platform. Copia will also provide Australian booksellers with the ability to sell a full suite of digital reading devices from iPad and Android devices to Windows7 tablets.

Rosenberg said Copia’s services are designed to help Australian independents retailers compete in a global online booksellering market and capture and retain sales data on its own local consumers. The service will be offered to the APA’s 2800 members, Rosenberg said, and he expected “a good number of them to sign on the service.”

This is the latest deal Copia has signed to provide back-end e-book fufillment to local retailers. In January, Copia announced a deal to power the digital bookstores of 900 independent college bookstores at schools like Pepperdine University, Notre Dame, Stanford, Florida State and Vanderbilt, beginning in the spring semester of 2012. Copia can also offer group discussion, note-taking and full social media networking capabilities, online services generally expected by today’s student body. Also in January, Copia reached an agreement to provide e-book fulfillment to Brazil’s Submarino Digital Club, a full service online e-book and print book retail outlet fully localized and attuned to Brazilian culture and consumer taste.

“Our market is in the unique position where our bookstores comprise a large portion of the marketplace,” said Maree McCaskill, CEO of Australian Publishers Association Ltd. “We are glad to partner with Copia as our official eBook partner to bring such a powerful platform to our booksellers.”