, the e-commerce Web site launched by publisher Steven Brill, has laid off four employees, but claims that no further layoffs are planned and that it is looking to expand its dealings with independent bookstores.

Brill told PW that the four employees (two are being interviewed for other jobs at Contentville) were in charge of producing content that wasn't attracting much traffic.

However, Brill emphasized to PW that he is looking to expand the use of independent bookstores to provide book recommendations to the site. "We're offering new ways we can help them and ways they can help us." Brill said the indie booksellers are being asked to use their Web sites to refer customers to Contentville to purchase "nonbook" items; the stores will receive a referral fee. In turn, Contentville is offering to use its sophisticated customer databases to e-mail Contentville customers about upcoming events at those local bookstores. Brill also said the site is changing the kinds of information indie booksellers provide: "Some of it isn't attracting readers. But information such as lists of favorite titles is very useful, so we want to expand on that."

He also told PW that Contentville's e-book program was "doing pretty well," citing Elmore Leonard's Fire in the Hole, an original e-book from Contentville Press. "We're moving slowly and selectively with e-books," he said. "But it has done well."