Arts and Entertainment

Eagle Harbor Book Co. goes digital

Eagle Harbor Book Co. co-owner Tim Hunter reads on a Kobo mini, comfortably in the store’s easy chair. - Richard D. Oxley / Bainbridge Island Review
Eagle Harbor Book Co. co-owner Tim Hunter reads on a Kobo mini, comfortably in the store’s easy chair.
— image credit: Richard D. Oxley / Bainbridge Island Review

The world of publishing is ever-changing. Technology has transformed everything from newspapers to books.

But don’t bother telling the folks at Eagle Harbor Book Co. They’re already on it.

“We’ve been selling eBooks all along,” said Victoria Irwin of Eagle Harbor Book Co. “And eReaders are the next step.”

The independent bookseller in downtown Winslow not only carries the bound favorites that bookworms enjoy burrowing through, it also now carries eReaders.

The electronic reading devices have become more than a trend in the book world in recent years, as eReaders can store multiple book titles in a compact, easy-to-carry device.

“It kills us when people come in with their cellphone and take a picture of a book and then buy it elsewhere,” she added. “This will give us a chance to level the playing field a little bit.”

Eagle Harbor Book Co. has become a licensed carrier of Kobo eReaders. Kobo offers a line of eReading devices such as the Kobo mini, and the Kobo glo, both available at Eagle Harbor Books.

Most readers still prefer to read paper books, according to Oren Teicher, CEO of the American Booksellers Association. But eReaders have taken over a considerable share of reading habits.

“This is now a piece of our business and where it grows has a lot of speculation,” Teicher said. “Print books will be the primary way people read, but some will read digital and we want to offer that to them.”

If islanders already have a device other than a Kobo, such as an iPad, that’s no problem. A Kobo app is free.

Customers can sign up for a Kobo account through the book store’s website, www.eaglehar

borbooks.com. Signing up for an account through the store’s websites allows Eagle Harbor Book Co. to receive credit for the titles islanders purchase.

Armed with the new eReader, the store hopes to maintain its connection to its customers.

“We know a lot of our customers travel a lot and use eBooks,” Irwin said. “They are on the ferry reading eBooks.”

Irwin noted that the store wants to be the island’s top source for books, and eReaders is part of that equation.

“It’s just part of how book stores have to retool as the industry changes,” she said. “But we will still have the creaky floors and books on the shelves.”

Book stores are certainly retooling. Many such as Eagle Harbor Books have integrated digital products onto their shelves, but eReaders have become an important addition, as well.

“What we have learned is that for a lot of our customers it is not just about the content, it was also about the devices,” Teicher said.

Teicher’s organization, the American Booksellers Association, works with Eagle Harbor Book Co. and helped seal the deal with Kobo.

“We’ve (started offering Kobo) not because stores such as Eagle Harbor are going to become eBook emporiums, but because folks at Eagle Harbor, and their colleagues, have noticed that some of their customers are using eReaders,” Teicher added. “And why shouldn’t they buy them from us?”

It’s about embracing a modern product mix for independent book sellers and staying fresh with modern trends.

“Readers do both,” Teicher said. “They aren’t only going to do digital or print. The likelihood is people do both depending on the circumstance.”

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