News | November 17, 2010

Portland Area Booksellers Launch Book Search Engine

November 17, 2010 -- Today, the Portland Area Used Booksellers Association (PAUBA) announces the launch of its new web service, allowing visitors to search the collected online inventories of PAUBA member bookstores.  “Portlanders embrace the idea of buying locally,” said Debbie Cross, the President of PAUBA, and co-owner of Wrigley-Cross Books, “and our new search engine will allow them to search the online inventories of over three dozen local and regional bookstores.”

Today, many small independent booksellers sell online only, and those that do maintain a brick-and-mortar store report that online sales represent a significant portion of their business. For consumers who want to shop locally while still enjoying the convenience of online purchasing it can be a challenge to avoid the national and multinational booksellers whose online stores often appear at the top of search results.  The new PAUBA search engine makes shopping locally online a whole lot easier.  “Portlanders can now shop online for books and know that they are buying from a neighborhood bookstore,” said Pamela Parnell owner of Pam’s Fine Books.

“We had been discussing this problem for a while,” comments John Storhm, owner of Burned Books Publishing and designer of the web page, “and then I realized that if each store already had an online inventory, all we needed was a unified search engine.”  Storhm began by collecting statistics on which inventory listing services were used most by PAUBA member bookstores.  This turned out to be and  Storhm then designed a web page that would take a search request and crawl the Biblio and Abe sites scanning the inventories of the PAUBA member stores.

PAUBA member bookstores are independent booksellers.  Each maintains their own stock, establishes their own store policies, and sets their own pricing.  “We work together on events like the annual Rose City Used Book Fair,” says Rachelle Markley, book fair organizer and owner of Second Glance Books, “the advantage this search engine provides is that stores retain their autonomy.  Search results contain links directly to books from each store’s online inventory.  When a customer clicks the link the sale goes directly to the store and PAUBA is no longer involved.”

“PAUBA member stores value their independence,” agrees Debbie Cross, “the role PAUBA plays is by helping customers to connect to a local bookseller.”

CONTACT:  Debbie Cross (503) 667-0807