New website Bookshop.org is launching today (2nd November) with 150 indie bookshops already signed up and publishers including Faber & Faber, Atlantic, Picador and Jacaranda on board.
The retailer, which aims to help indies challenge Amazon, expects 200 stores to have signed up by the end of the year and has fast-tracked its UK launch after huge success in the US earlier this year.
It gives indie bookshops the full profit margin, 30% of the cover price, from each sale they generate on the platform. Books are offered to consumers at a small discount and delivered within two to three days with all customer service and shipping handled by the site and Gardners.
Andy Rossiter of Rossiter Books said: “Being an independent bookseller has for so many years been such a David v Goliath battle that it feels slightly disconcerting when someone at last hands you a bazooka instead of you peppering away with your slingshot.”
Georgia Eckert, of Imagined Things Bookshop in Harrogate, said: “It's brilliant to be part of something that is bigger than what us indies could do individually or together, that has independents at its heart and celebrates the brilliance of our independence through our individually collated lists. Whilst we all still tremendously encourage customers to primarily visit our bookshops in person (and our own websites too) if they can, Bookshop.org's size, offering and reach will rival and disrupt some of the big online competitors in a way that we can't individually, and it will give indie bookshops another way to connect with, and get support from, new customers in this increasingly digital age. Disruption to the current, dangerous status quo of Amazon having such a huge market share and publishers and affiliates linking to them is essential, timely and will make a big difference to indie bookshops."
UK publishers to have signed up so far include Atlantic Books, Faber, Picador, Jacaranda, Fitzcarraldo Editions and Andersen Press.
Philip Gwyn Jones, publisher at Picador, said: “Like every publisher of long standing, I tend to be an incorrigible – some would say deluded – optimist, but nonetheless I am finding it impossible not to see the arrival of Bookshop.org as being a positively revolutionary moment in the history of bookselling in the UK, and in the evolution of the relationship between writers and readers.”
Stephen Page, c.e.o. at Faber, added: “The arrival of Bookshop.org solves a missing piece of our rich ecology of bookselling in the UK, with the establishment of a brilliant online partner for our thriving independent bookselling community.”
Customers will also be able to browse book recommendation lists created by authors, influencers, publishers, journalists and others, with anyone able to create a book recommendation page to share suggestions with their friends, fans or followers. Non-bookshop affiliates that create pages on Bookshop earn 10% of the r.r.p. for every book purchased through it, with independent bookshops also receiving 10%.
Founder and c.e.o. Andy Hunter said: “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 loca, brick and mortar bookstores, providing book buyers with an easy way to shop online while continuing to support their local high street.”