Bookshop.org urges industry to back indies with links in Independent Bookshop Week

Bookshop.org urges industry to back indies with links in Independent Bookshop Week

Online indie retailer Bookshop.org is calling for publishers and authors to link to independent bookshops and its own site for the duration of Independent Bookshop Week (IBW).

Running from 19th to 26th June and sponsored by Hachette UK, IBW is an annual celebration of independent bookshops run by the Booksellers Association. It seeks to highlight and support the bookselling community and is part of the Books are My Bag Campaign.

Bookshop.org provides booksellers on the platform with two revenue streams, including 30% commission earned on sales that come through the store’s links, book lists or shop page, and a 10% cut on all other sales on the platform. The company is planning to increase this second shared pool, which is divided equally among all participating bookshops, to 20% for the duration of IBW.

The platform hopes this will encourage non-bookshop affiliates of all types to take the pledge and add at least one link to all their social media posts including Bookshop.org or indie bookshops directly.

Jasper Sutcliffe, publisher and affiliate manager at Bookshop UK, said: “During Independent Bookshop Week, we are keen to show our support for indies even more. Not only will our initiative allow independent booksellers to increase their revenue during the week, but we’re also hoping to raise awareness on the issue of book links. When a publisher or an author connects a reader to Bookshop.org, Blackwell’s or another independent bookshop, a link becomes more than a link. It supports the cultural ecosystem and ensures online purchases support independent bookshops. Our hope is that the publishing industry will pledge to link to indies and Bookshop.org for the whole of IBW, and beyond.”

The BA announced its plans for the event last month, which will see authors offering signed copies or bookplates available exclusively from indies. The line-up includes Ben Aaronovitch, Richard Coles, Alex Michaelides, Ben Bailey Smith, Sarah Winman, Esther Freud, Kirsty Capes, Susannah Wise and Carolyn Dunster.

Waterstones Children’s Laureate Cressida Cowell will be designing this year’s Independent Bookshop Week children’s bag, available exclusively from indie bookshops.

Emma Bradshaw, head of campaigns at the BA, added: “Independent Bookshop Week is one of our favourite moments of the year, where we encourage everyone to take some time to celebrate the amazing work of independent booksellers. This year, we’re excited that Bookshop is drawing people’s attention to how vital it is to support independent bookshops – which includes being mindful of where you link to, and where you click through to buy your books from. We hope Independent Bookshop Week will see the start of a new trend in the publishing industry, pledging a support for indies – and the wider high street bookselling ecosystem – that goes beyond the week of the campaign.”

Some publishers have already vocalised their support for the campaign. Laurence Harvie, marketing and communications director at Thames & Hudson, said: “We’re looking forward to celebrating Independent Bookshop Week by driving awareness of online traffic to Bookshop.org. The last year has been a stark reminder of the crucial role the many brilliant independently owned bookshops play in their communities. The booksellers’ resilience and ongoing passion for their work throughout two successive national lockdowns has been hugely inspiring. We’re delighted to help bring more readers through their virtual doors.”

A spokesperson for Faber & Faber said: “We’re pleased to respond to Bookshop’s call-out and to further our support for independent bookshops by committing to use indie links when sharing books online and on our social media during Independent Bookshop Week. We are glad to join a much-needed conversation and we hope many publishers will pledge to use links to independent bookshops during that week.”