Powell's Bookstore has become the first independent bookstore to sell electronic book texts. The Rocket eBook's digital editions of works by bestselling frontlist authors such as Thomas Friedman and Stephen King can now be purchased and downloaded from the store's Web site (www.powellsbooks.com).

Barnesandnoble.com sells the NuvoMedia digital editions and reader.

Given the relative dearth of eBook readers (sales of the hardware, the company said, are "in the thousands"), store owner Michael Powell said he will not scrutinize sales data. But, he said, the experiment could still be useful. "We're more interested in seeing how seamless it is, how much trouble it is for us to be in a partnership like this," he explained to PW.

Powell evinced a kind of pragmatism when asked about the decision to become the first independent to sell eBook editions. "I'm not welcoming [electronic] books, but I know they're here," he said. "It seems like we wouldn't be well-served by turning our backs on this new technology."