Google to help get The Monkey off my back

Monkey See Monkey Read banner Back in Oct. 2008, I bought an Amazon Kindle and blogged about it: Northfield Kindle owners: saving trees or destroying Division St. bookstores?

There were three bookstores downtown then: River City Books, Bookfellows, and Monkey See Monkey Read. Only Jerry Bilek’s Monkey See Monkey Read remains.

Not that I feel completely responsible for the demise of two of our bookstores, but I was glad to see this in last week’s NY Times: Stores See Google as Ally in E-Book Market

Now one element of Google Editions is coming into sharper focus. Google is on the verge of completing a deal with the American Booksellers Association, the trade group for independent bookstores, to make Google Editions the primary source of e-books on the Web sites of hundreds of independent booksellers around the country, according to representatives of Google and the association.

Kindle and G1 with sychronized ebook I’m a regular e-book buyer and things got even cooler this week with a new Kindle app that allows me to read the same books on my Android phone that I’ve already purchased for my Kindle… and synchronize how far along I am in the book in both devices. Very helpful.


  1. You can have the convenience of the Kindle apps without, you know, actually shelling out for the Kindle. The apps are free; I have one on my Mac, and another on my iPhone. The apps do not have all the features of the physical device, but for whiling away the time in waiting rooms and airport lounges, they are entirely suitable.

    I would be happy to buy books, and support local independent bookstores, but I have no more room for books, nor walls for more bookshelves. If Google offers a program to send a portion of my reading dollars to a bookstore, or Amazon’s affiliate program applies to Kindle books — I don’t know — so much the better.

    July 5, 2010
  2. Tom Swift said:

    Do you ever tire of staring at a screen, Griff?

    Meanwhile, hope for Luddites like me.

    July 7, 2010
  3. There are times when I enjoy my Entourage (a kindle of sorts) and times when only The Monk can get me a book I want, like a couple of weeks ago when he ordered up a picture book and a Ray Bradbury book that wasn’t available online. The ebook readers are just one more way to get what we want. Plus, Jerry has always been a joy to deal with and that’s one of the big reasons why he’s still around.

    July 7, 2010
  4. Griff Wigley said:

    Tom, I get tired of computer screens but not the Kindle because it’s not back-lit. Its text is crisp and easy to read, even in the bright sun. And if I can’t find my reading glasses, I just up the size of the text.

    The only time I seem to need a print product is if I’m in the bathtub or a hot tub and no one else is in there with me. 😉

    July 7, 2010
  5. Griff Wigley said:

    Thx for the reminder, Linda. Yes, the Kindle apps for a Mac or PC are quite nice. Text is more readable than on a web page.

    July 7, 2010
  6. Rob, I read about half and skimmed thru the other, I have never liked to read through the excess of words that are often set before us because people are getting paid by each word they write. I will give myself a chance to get used to the cadence of a what may be to me a new author, but if it doesn’t come within one chapter, he or she is Gone with the Wind.

    I do sort of agree with the author that the computer thing has driven us dumb, and I might add spoiled. I found that happening to me as my reading fair is usually more about nature, biographies, and do it yourself type things. But I do enjoy a good well written novel. And I wish I had someone to talk to about those novels, but all the book clubs I run into don’t really talk about books. They have more pressing agendas, it seems.

    Anyway, it seems that we need to take the bull by the horns and set aside time to read political, historical, and classical and modern novels at the very least, several hours per week at the very minimum, in a quiet corner. Read the good ones twice and the great ones every so often after that.

    July 19, 2010
  7. Griff Wigley said:

    NY Times: E-Books Top Hardcovers at Amazon, one of the nation’s largest booksellers, announced Monday that for the last three months, sales of books for its e-reader, the Kindle, outnumbered sales of hardcover books. In that time, Amazon said, it sold 143 Kindle books for every 100 hardcover books, including hardcovers for which there is no Kindle edition

    July 19, 2010
  8. Tom Swift said:

    Here’s one response to those numbers, Griff:

    “If we use the ratio from the last quarter, it implies Amazon has sold around 22 million Kindle books so far this year. That’s just the equivalent of 6 percent of the total print book market, which remains tiny.”

    July 20, 2010
  9. Griff Wigley said:

    In today’s NY Times: Google Opens Doors to E-Bookstore

    The Google eBookstore could be a significant benefit to independent bookstores like Powell’s Books in Portland, Ore., that have signed on to sell Google e-books on their Web sites through Google — the first significant entry for independents into the e-book business.

    “This levels the playing field,” said Oren Teicher, the chief executive of the American Booksellers Association. “If you want to buy e-books, you don’t just have to buy them from the big national outlets.”

    Google Blog: Discover more than 3 million Google eBooks from your choice of booksellers and devices

    You can discover and buy new ebooks from the Google eBookstore or get them from one of our independent bookseller partners: Powell’s, Alibris and participating members of the American Booksellers Association. You can choose where to buy your ebooks like you choose where to buy your print books, and keep them all on the same bookshelf regardless of where you got them.

    According to this page on IndieBound, these 4 MN independent bookstores will be participating as of today

    Best of Times Bookstore Red Wing, MN
    The Book Shelf Winona, MN
    The Bookcase Wayzata, MN
    Wild Rumpus Minneapolis, MN

    I hope Jerry Bilek at Northfield’s Monkey See Monkey Read will be participating.

    See the Google eBookstore. I installed the Android app on my G2 phone and began reading Walden for free in less than a minute.

    December 6, 2010
  10. Jerry Bilek said:

    I’d like to sell e-books and google may be the most viable partner. the current model offered to independent bookstores is not a good option for me. the annual fees are $3000. I don’t believe google is signing up indie bookstores directly, only through the ABA. If I were able to deal with google directly for a reasonable fee, I’d consider it.

    December 6, 2010
  11. Griff Wigley said:

    Now that’s funny! Thx, Jerry.

    December 8, 2010
  12. Griff Wigley said:

    In today’s Strib: Local bookstores fall to ‘e-book revolution’

    In a shakeout inducing shivers to rival a suspense novel, one local independent bookseller after another is closing up shop. No more Biermaier’s Books in Minneapolis, for 60 years among the largest used bookstores in Minnesota. No more J. O’Donoghue Books in Anoka, serving the north metro for four decades. No more Northern Lights Books & Gifts in Duluth, calling it quits after 17 years. And no more Cummings Books in Dinkytown, which papered over its windows last month.

    Others such as the Bookcase of Wayzata — the oldest independent bookseller in the Twin Cities with roots in the 1950s — are hanging on by their book jackets as e-books gain popularity in the booming online market. "We have lost a lot of regular customers to the e-book revolution," said owner Charlie Leonard.

    December 12, 2010
  13. Jerry Bilek said:

    Griff, thanks for the link to the star trib story.
    here is a comment I posted:
    the bottom line is this is capitalism. bookstores, indies, chain, and, internet, need to serve the customer. the ones that do that the best and profitably will survive. if you like printed books, keep buying them from stores you want to see survive. the same goes for ebooks. if you want indie bookstores to survive, shop there even for ebooks. you can tell your favorite local bookstore to sell ebooks. The ABA has made this possible for indies with a partnership with google. if you like amazon or B&N, shop there. let you money talk. I own a small bookstore. currently, I am considering offering ebooks to my customers. the ABA/google option is too expensive for me at the moment. it might make economic sense for my store in the future.

    December 14, 2010
  14. Bruce Morlan said:

    Well, a cartoon on my refrigerator reminds me that anti-social media (books) have a place in our anti-social networks.

    December 30, 2010
  15. Griff Wigley said:

    This week’s Nfld News: Library broadens eBook collection

    In mid-January, the library went into “OverDrive,” a new online resource of eBooks and audiobooks in a wide range of subjects downloadable onto eReaders, audio players and computers… Library users need only a library card and a compatible electronic device to use the free resource. Most eReaders, computers and other mobile devices are compatible with OverDrive, with the exception of the Amazon Kindle. The necessary software is provided without charge through the website.

    February 3, 2011
  16. Griff Wigley said:

    NY Times: E-Readers Catch Younger Eyes and Go in Backpacks

    Something extraordinary happened after Eliana Litos received an e-reader for a Hanukkah gift in December. “Some weeks I completely forgot about TV,” said Eliana, 11. “I went two weeks with only watching one show, or no shows at all. I was just reading every day.”

    Ever since the holidays, publishers have noticed that some unusual titles have spiked in e-book sales. The “Chronicles of Narnia” series. “Hush, Hush.” The “Dork Diaries” series… But now that e-readers are cheaper and more plentiful, they have gone mass market, reaching consumers across age and demographic groups, and enticing some members of the younger generation to pick them up for the first time.

    February 5, 2011
  17. On a side note, my wife ordered and purchased the latest Tom Clancy novel from our Favorite Monkey, Mr. Bilek…

    … However, at 970 pages (seriously, Tom, get an editor!) it weighs a ton in hardcover, and would be one reason to consider a kindle. It is twice as thick as my netbook, and weighs about 5 pounds.

    I however like the feel of a good paper based book in my hands. Its going to take a while for me to move away from that, even though most of my books for work are now electronic.

    $3000 for the privilege to sell e-books? That doesn’t sound viable at all.

    February 8, 2011

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