Indie Print Bookstores: You’re All Gonna Die

Google Killing the eBookstore Reseller Program

So it looks like Google didn’t see the growth they wanted in the reseller program they launched with the Google eBookstore back in 2010; today they announced that they plan to end the program in January 2013.

Well, that’s what happens when you jump aboard the Google Boat!

Those of you outside of following eBook developments have little idea of how big a deal this Google tie-in was supposed to be. Incredibly, many independent print bookstores actually thought this would be the lifeline that would save them from being swallowed up by Amazon with whatever remained nibbled by Barnes & Noble.

Unfortunately, I didn’t make screensnaps of the indie bookstore sites I visited the first day this went active. It was clear that none of the indies had a clue of how to compete and that this program wouldn’t save a single one of them.

Now the Google Titanic has finally had to admit it created its own iceberg and has thrown its partners overboard to drown.

None of them would have listened to any warnings. It was all just like this:

He [Dreyfuss] steps onto the jetty, while all the bounty hunters are heading out in their overcrowded boats to hunt the shark, laughs that Daffy-Duck-on-helium laugh of his, and says to no-one in particular, “they’re all going to die!” — a prognostication of doom sung in the happiest of sing-song lilts.

Hey, they all wanted to get in that Google Boat, dammit!

Now they’re all gonna die.

Google is a company that has lost its soul. It was bad enough that it never seemed to focus on anything to the point of actual completion — with everything always seemingly in perpetual Beta — but its latest moves under Larry Page are like Jekyll turning into Hyde.

Whatever vision Google once had is gone. And what seems to have been its replacement is a “Hurry Up! Me Too!” mentality — that gave us the Google Plus disaster because suddenly Google “had to do social” — and worse.

I don’t think Google understands the reputation it has been cultivating. I left this Comment at a site that Googlers frequent:

Is it my imagination or have I seen many “Google Screwed Us” posts and never one “Google Made It All Right” posts? It seems to me to be the opposite of Amazon, where I’ve seen many glowing posts about CS and very few posts about things going incredibly bad.

Edit: Amazon is also relevant due to their Android app store and soon in-app purchasing. I expect them to start an ad network for apps too.

Replies were:

Amazon has an easy to find customer service that replies to your questions quickly and makes things right. Google makes it very hard to find or contact anyone. Unless they’re selling your their site optimization services.

I’m sure Amazon spends way more money in keeping their customers happy. They seem to realize this is good for repeat business.


I have liked Google for a long time but it seems that they really struggle when it comes to customer service. Hopefully, someone will realize that this is important, especially when money is at issue, and do something about it.

To which someone replied separately with:

They don’t struggle. It just doesn’t exist.

Google was never set up to deal with people. It’s always lived in Googleland, with algorithms, hardware, and software. Expecting such a company to suddenly embrace people was asking for too much. It’s just not in their DNA. This latest move only proves that even more.

How many of these indie bookstores had no clue this was about to happen? I bet most of them saw it as a shock.

Further shocks for many others will be coming down the road. Especially after Google releases its Google Play tablet. How is support for that going to be handled? Who will buyers call when there’s a manufacturing defect (and there always are!)?

Stand by for even worse.

Indie Print Bookstores: You’re All Gonna Die


  1. Peter6 April, 2012

    Reading a Mike Cane article is like watching the Tasmanian Devil.

  2. fjtorres6 April, 2012

    I’m not sure *all* independent bookstores are going to die.
    Continued closures, however, are probably unavoidable. How deep they go will depend mostly on how bad things go for B&N and BAM because while there will be less room for B&M bookstores, there will still be room for at least one per metro area.
    Dozens, though?
    Going to be a tough row to hoe.
    The tougher it gets for the big chains, the better the chances for the indies.
    The likliest survivors are going to be the ones that do the basics best and the ones that don’t waste time and limited resources chasing magic anti-Amazon bullets.


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