A task force of Christian-store retailers exploring the feasibility of a collaborative industry solution to provide e-books through Christian stores has determined no viable, broad-based cooperative solution could be identified.

The group which included independent retailers and marketing group representatives found high startup costs, limited foreseeable return on investment, perceived high risks in a cooperative program, and the inability of technology providers to broadly meet critical requirements were key challenges. Additionally, the group noted recent introductions of proprietary technology solutions within the industry could dilute a unified approach to a broad cooperative solution.

However, the group consensus was that retailers should pursue individual solutions through available technologies to meet their customer needs and expectations. Some marketing groups are exploring proprietary solutions, and individual retailers are experimenting with industry technology providers, such as Ingram Digital Content, Signature Websites, and Integra Interactive.

CBA began the yearlong exploration into e-book delivery and Christian stores during a “Digital Summit” at the 2010 International Christian Retail Show. The working group then reviewed about 16 proposals, and narrowed options to four.

CBA has prepared a white paper on the developing e-book transition and the working group’s findings. The working group included representation from The Parable Group, The Covenant Group, Munce Marketing Group, Logos Christian Stores, two chain-store representatives, and representatives from the CBA board.

To download the white paper, go to: http://www.cbaonline.org/documents/documents/e-bookWhitePaper08-31-11Fin.pdf.