I don’t report on every new ebook retail site, because there are so many cropping up and most lack any distinguishing features. But Zola Books, which made its debut at Book Expo America (BEA) recently, looks like being a little more interesting. The site, which is still in beta at the moment, seems set on being a combination of Amazon-style retailer and Goodreads-style social network.
Zola’s focus will reportedly be on authors, with author bio details prominently displayed on sales pages. The idea is to help readers find new books by linking their current favourites to similar titles. Sites like Goodreads already do this to an extent, but Zola also promises to be a full-on retailer. Deals with the Big 6 publishers and a number of leading independents are reportedly already in place, and indie booksellers will be able to build their own storefronts.
Another important factor is that books purchased at Zola will be readable on all platforms, including the Kindle. That means users won’t be locked in to a single device or a single user experience. It’s early days, but so far Zola looks to be doing everything right.