When Google’s eBookstore first launched in Canada in November, its retail partners were limited to a consortium of campus bookstores and the McNally Robinson stores. But a new deal between the Canadian Booksellers Association and the consortium known as Campus eBookstore has opened the door for independent CBA members to start selling e-books through the Google eBookstore immediately.

The CBA said that Queen’s University’s bookstore and McNally Robinson tested the Google’s e-book solution for the past 18 months, going live in November. Since then, the CBA has worked with Chris Tabor, president of Campus eBookstore and director of Queen’s University Bookstore, to tailor a platform that meets the needs of independent booksellers. Anthony Van Alphen of Reads Books in Carleton Place, Ont., a member of the CBA tech committee, was the first to test it out from a small indie store perspective.

“We have wanted a solution like this for a long time” said CBA president Mark Lefebvre. CBA members will connect with Google eBbooks via Campus eBookstore. And initially, CBA booksellers don’t have to pay anything to get the service up and running, he said. “They simply need to sign up, add the html code to their site…. The solution doesn't require them to have native ecommerce capability - the money is taken on their behalf and they get their cut.”

Booksellers pay a monthly fee of up to C$50, but Lefebvre said it is only applied if the bookseller earns enough to cover costs. “What appeals to me about the program is it means, for a no risk entry fee, and without having to have an IT resource or even to install a fully operational e-commerce platform, even the smallest independent bookstore will be able to be in the e-book game.” Demand from booksellers has been strong, Lefebvre added. They have wanted to offer their customers this choice. “This is yet another option for them to be able to let their customers know that they can buy ebooks and still support their local favorite bookseller,” he said.