Move over, Amazon: There’s a New Book Player in Town

It’s got better ethics and the good kind of exponential graph

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Photo by Pj Accetturo on Unsplash

A seamless new way to shop from indie bookshops

For customers, it’s an easy storefront: search for a book, add it to your cart, and it appears at your home as soon as two or three days later, fulfilled by Ingram, the wholesaler which supplies most indies. It’s a smooth and easy process which has the advantage of helping out often struggling independent bookshops rather than lining the pockets of a billionaire with questionable ethics and an ever-increasing grip on the book market.

Financial support for indies

And for bookstores, it’s a great way to earn extra cash: every six months, the profit generated for them gets split between participating indies. Shops can also become affiliates, which means they get substantial commission on all sales generated by links they post in their newsletters or on their social media, for example. At a precarious time for local businesses like this one, every penny counts — and there’s a lot more than a few pennies at stake.

Increasing support in the publishing world

Bookshop.org’s reach is only likely to increase, with major publisher Simon and Schuster announcing on Friday that they are adding buy buttons for the indie storefront to the books on their website.

Possible reasons for rapid growth

There are lots of reasons for Bookshop.org’s increasing success: it’s likely that even without current events momentum would have grown, as word of the new service spread through word of mouth and media coverage calling Bookshop.org David to Amazon’s Goliath. But it’s no coincidence that it’s snowballing now, for several reasons — and not just because people are stockpiling books for their time of social isolation.

The not-so-little website that could

“I think as long as we don’t reach a certain level of success we’re going to fly under [Amazon’s] radar,” founder Andy Hunter told Forbes back in the long-distant times of February this year. But it looks like Bookshop.org’s days of being under the radar might be rapidly coming to an end.

Editor of WALK WITH US: How the West Wing Changed Our Lives; author of the novel UNSCRIPTED and of CONQUERING BABEL: a Practical Guide to Learning a Language.

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