Bookshop.org has launched in the UK just in the nick of time to support indie book shops just as the second round of lockdown restrictions are starting to bite.
The premise of Bookshop.org is that Amazon hoover up a ton of book sales and indie book shops have a rough enough time making a profit at the best of times. With the pandemic they’ll all be forced to close in lockdowns and so the UK launch (Bookshop.org has already been live in the US since earlier this year) has been brought forward to assist them at the time the need help most.
Bookshops that sign up get their own Bookshop.org microsite and can earn 30% commission on all sales. Creating their own curated reading lists, they can appeal to customers in the same way that they do in their physical stores. The big difference being that they don’t have any up front investment and UK distributor partner Gardners, a UK book wholesaler, handle customer service and shipping. Consumers get a small discount and receive their book purchases within a few days and the book shop that drove the sale earns their commission.
Bookshop.org want to support all indie book shops, so 10% of sales on the site that are driven by affiliates that aren’t book shops goes into a pot to be distributed to indie book shops whether they are signed up to the site or not. Non book shop affiliates also earn 10% of the RRP as a commission.
This is a really clever idea, not quite a marketplace, Bookshop.org is more like a collection on online stores where each book shop can create their own unique identity. For instance, Bookends is a family-run, independent bookshop set in a beautiful, rambling 5-storey Georgian building shared with second-hand bookshop Bookcase and vintage cafe and garden Cakes & Ale in the historic Border city of Carlisle. Their reading lists include Cumbrian Crime, Cumbrian Highlights 2020, Unicorn Overload!, and Books for Crazy Cat Ladies.
Are you a book shop?
If you are an indie book shop then we encourage you to take a look at Bookshop.org and get signed up in time to maximise on sales in the run up to Christmas.
Are you a buying a book?
If you are going to buy books, either to read yourself or as Christmas gifts, then consider making your purchase on Bookshop.org to support indie book shops. You can also search for your local favourite book shop during lock down and buy specifically from them knowing they will get the commission on your purchases.
“Bookshops are essential to a healthy culture, and online sales are vital to safeguarding their future. We can’t afford to lose them. Covid-19 has added further urgency to the need for bookshops to compete for online sales. Bookshop.org’s mission is to empower customers in supporting local brick and mortar bookstores, providing book buyers with an easy way to shop online while continuing to support their local high street.”
– Andy Hunter, Founder & CEO, Bookshop.org