Independent booksellers are hoping to rise to the challenges posed by e-book readers.
Michael Hare, co-owner of Calgary's Owl's Nest Books, believes traditional booksellers can co-exist and even thrive alongside e-books, with staff whose insight and expertise are irreplaceable.
"We know we're losing some business. … You know, even our loyal customers are saying to me that they do have e-readers now," Hare said.
"Hopefully, bookstores will survive in spite of the new technology."
In the U.S., Google recently launched an online bookstore, with e-book sales available through the websites of traditional bookstores.
The Canadian Booksellers Association is working to bring a similar system north, and president Mark Lefebvre said it is in talks with Google and other providers.
Lefebvre said e-books, which are read on devices such as Amazon.com's Kindle, could be sold through booksellers' websites or through in-store kiosks.
"I'm thinking before the snow melts, we're probably going to have independent booksellers selling e-books, if not sooner," Lefebvre said.
There's a lot of angst in the industry and some booksellers "don't want to go in this direction," Hare said.
"I'm saying the technology isn't going away. Let's at least be able to provide the service."