Indie eBook Distributor Booki.sh to Cease Operations
Australia’s own ebook distributor Booki.sh announced today that they will stop selling ebooks in June 2013.
We have been privileged to work with Australia’s best independent booksellers as we all fought for a place in what is a difficult market, and we did not come easily to the decision to end our retail operations. We thank the proprietors and staff of Readings, Fullers, Avid Reader, Mary Ryan’s, Imprints, Books for Cooks and Gleebooks for their willingness to be part of this project, and for their input and guidance along the way.
Customers who have purchased ebooks via the Booki.sh website or one of Booki.sh’s retail partners will still be able to access their ebooks after the cutoff date.
Booki.sh launched in beta in early 2011 with the novel idea of a cloud ebookstore. The original idea was that customers would read the ebooks in their web browser, avoiding the need for platform-specific reading apps but also avoiding the benefit of being able to download an ebook and read it offline.
That lack of downloads raised the hackles of several bloggers, leading Booki.sh to offer downloads when it officially launched in November 2011. Booki.sh still relied on web browsers instead of reading apps but also enabled customers to download a title so it can be read offline.
Booki.sh last crossed my desk in March 2012 when its developers were aqui-hired by OverDrive. OD is using the tech developed for Booki.sh to build its own cloud reading app.
It might appear that OverDrive killed off the retail component of Booki.sh because they didn’t need it, but that might not be the case. I’m not sure that Booki.sh was ever a viable competitor in the retail ebook market. It never grew beyond Australia and (so far as I know) it never added major publishers, just local Australian publishers. What probably doomed Booki.sh was that its catalog was both limited and expensive.
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