Monday, March 26, 2007

Comment: The Caravan Project

I'm off to an early meeting today, so for your Monday dose of book world goodness I'd like to refer you to today's Shelf Awareness. Here's a permanent link to the story on the Caravan Project, by which bookstores can order (through Ingram, the largest and most commonly used book wholesaler) books for customers in the following formats: traditional book, POD book, large print, e-book, online download, audio CD, or audio download. The practical details of how this works are in the article.

This is something we talked about at the Digital Task Force meeting: a means to involve all the traditional parts of the book industry (including the bookstore) in the profit chain, while offering customers easy and versatile options for buying reading material. The project is in its pilot phase now, available only through certain bookstores and certain publishers (mostly university presses), and time will tell whether bookstore customers will catch on to getting their multi-media fix over the counter. But it seems to me like a smart way to start.

What do you think, book readers? Would you order your audio or e-books from a book retailer? Does it add value to the bookstore experience to have this option? Where do we go from here?