A newish company called Livrada is intent upon "expand(ing) the footprint of bookselling" and "mak(ing) e-book giving a more personal and streamlined experience" by offering e-book gift cards.
You're no-doubt familiar with the process of giving e-books as gifts through a seller like Amazon, where you buy the e-book electronically and have it delivered electronically to the recipient with a message from you. What Livrada is doing is different.
The cards are for specific books, and are sold in physical store outlets. Recipients enter a code from their gift card into Livrada's website and are taken to "the selected platform's delivery channel—whether it's Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or others."
Livrada's e-book gift cards are currently sold at most Target stores, and the company is "in talks with a number of retailers, including airport stores, big box retailers, office supply stores, and electronic stores." The idea behind selling the physical cards in physical stores is that "a tangible way to browse, discover, and purchase e-books is more appealing to customers than the digital lists and recommendation engines that are found online." ( Livrada seems to be hedging their bet by adding "electronic stores" to their list of outlets they're in talks with.)
The company works with publishers--currently Random House and HarperCollins. It has six titles right now, including Fifty Shades of Grey, State of Wonder, and Gone, Girl, and "hopes to have 50 to 100 titles available . . . within the next six to twelve months from about a dozen publishers."
For more details on this interesting start-up business, read the full article from last week's Publishers Weekly.