Indie-focused online retailer Bookshop.org has made nearly £1.5m profit for bookshops in the UK since its November 2020 launch and has now hit a $15m milestone in the US.
In the UK, the platform now has 470 shops on board and has sold more than £8m worth of books, making £1.48m in profit for indies. In the US, where the platform has 1,200 indies on board, it has made $15m for bookshops since it launched in January 2020 just before the pandemic.
The retailer says it offers online shoppers an ethical alternative to Amazon that supports indie bookshops, giving them the full profit margin, 30% of the cover price, from each sale they generate on the platform and a cut of a shared profit pool from affiliate sales.
Nicole Vanderbilt, m.d. of Bookshop.org UK, said: "Generating $15m for US indie booksellers in under 18 months demonstrates the power of our platform. Consumers realise that where they spend their money matters. Giving readers a place to buy books online that supports independent bookshops means that they will go into bookshops when they can, and they will still support them online when they want the convenience of an online purchase. There is still so much opportunity to increase the indie bookseller's share of the online market and we’re proud to be working with indies in the UK to further grow their market share."
The retailer said that booksellers using the platform have reported that Bookshop.org has been a financial lifeline in a particularly challenging time, with the additional income enabling many to survive the challenges of the pandemic, pay rent, create corporate orders for e-gift cards, and even open new stores. It has also helped to strengthen their online presence, helping them with social media exposure, enabling them to reach wider audiences, expanding their offer and inventory, enabling them to share personalised lists and recommendations with customers, and creating a sense of community.
It added: "Amazon’s market share of US book sales has grown at an average of 8% per year since 2015, if that continues, it will account for 80% of books sold directly to consumers by the end of 2025, which could put many much-loved local book stores at risk of closure. In the face of the ever-growing threat of Amazon to the bookselling ecosystem, Bookshop.org's mission is to help independent, local booksellers survive and thrive."
In an open letter published on Medium, Bookshop.org c.e.o. Andy Hunter thanked customers for their support of indie book stores but said there was more to be done to make sure indies can hold their own.
He said: “The future is not something that happens to us. It is something we create. People all over the world are waking up to the fact that our small choices – from buying local, to recycling, to choosing clean energy, and shopping from ethical companies – are shaping the world that we live in. I want my children to grow up in a world that includes thousands of book stores.”