Consumer-facing books website Hive has launched today (1st June), with around 350 independent bookshops signed up as members.
The site, which can be visited at http://www.hive.co.uk, went live just hours ago in a soft launch to the public.
Book wholesaler Gardners created the website to sell directly to consumers; it also encourages customers to collect their orders from their nearest independent bookshop.
For every Hive customer who chooses to have their online purchase delivered to their home, the independent with the nearest postcode will receive 5% renumeration on short discount lines, low margin offer books and 3% on e-books, DVDs and stationery in the form of a Gardners credit note.
However, if customers choose to collect their Hive purchase from the shop, then the indie will receive more—10-25% on trade books, 5-15% on short discount books (such as academic titles) and 5% on stationery and DVDs.
The website has a yellow and grey theme, advertises “free delivery” on its homepage and showcases books “in the news”, “top-selling titles” and “just out in e-book” on its front page.
Managing director of Gardners Books, Jonathan Little, said: “Following months of development I am delighted to announce the soft launch of Hive. We are all looking forward to working closely with our customers to make this unique initiative a success story.”
The independent bookshops which have signed up to Hive have built their own pages which can be accessed from the main website, displaying information such as opening hours, location and upcoming events.
Marketing agency MBA has been appointed to lead a “six-figure” consumer-facing marketing campaign to raise awareness of the new website. It is expected to include social media campaigns and competitions, a possible tie-up with a leading national newspaper as well as local activity and online advertising.