Can E-Books Save The Neighborhood Bookstore?

A startup called Zola Books has paired with a popular novelist to try to save brick-and-mortar shops.

While no one in the publishing world wants to halt the march of digital distribution, many would like to ensure the neighborhood bookstore doesn’t go the way of the record store. That’s why there are a growing number of people in the industry who are looking to disrupt the disruptors and show Apple, Amazon, and Google how to do digital publishing right–by embracing the new while keeping the best of the old. One of those people is Audrey Niffenegger, author of The Time Traveler’s Wife–one of the most popular debut novels of the last decade. She’s recently become involved with, and invested in, a new digital publishing startup called Zola Books–an e-bookstore that, among other things, aims to help physical bookstores thrive in a digital age.

The New Dividing Line
The Frankfurt Book Fair, the largest trade show of its kind, ended its run this year on Sunday. Though, like always, the fair was dominated with deals being made for new novels, selling foreign rights for existing books, and a continuing discussion on e-books versus paper books, this year’s fair also saw a new level of wariness growing for the encroachment of the big three tech companies–Apple, Amazon, and Google–into a world many feel they care little about. As the fair’s director Juergen Boos told industry insiders and members of the press, “The dividing line is no longer between old and new, print and e-books, analog and digital. Instead it runs between those who have a passion for content and who want to provide access to it, and those who don’t really care what they’re selling.”

This blog post, by Michael Grothaus, originally appeared on Fast Company and was reprinted with permission. Michael Grothaus can be reached via TwitterTo continue reading this article, visit Fast Company. For more information on Zola Books, click here.