Bookshop.org, launched last week (2 November) in the UK with the aim to help independent booksellers, has already achieved some amazing results.
The new “ethical” website – created by writer and co-founder of Literary Hub Andy Hunter – has been able to sell £415,000 in revenue after only two weeks into its launch, and has raised more than £100,000 for local bookshops – according to the official website.
Bookshop has set itself to challenge the online giant Amazon is an effort to save local independent bookshops. This has seen their revenues diminishing drastically during the pandemic.
According to a research conducted by the company Nielsen Book, the pandemic has seen an increase in the number of adults reading books in lockdown. Two in five UK adults reported reading more since the beginning of lockdown. The nation as a whole has increased the hours spent in reading books from three and a half to six hours per week.
However, this increase did not see an equivalent increase in the number of books sold, due to the inability of consumers to visit local bookshops.
Thus, many local bookshops have welcomed the initiative to start a community of indie bookshops online with open arms, with the hopes that their partnership with Bookshop will improve their financial struggles and the industry.
The incredible support and success of this new ethical online shop have seen the number of affiliate shops increasing from around 150 to 300 in a matter of days.
The UK managing direction Nicole Vanderbilt has said that bookshops come from all four nations and Bookshop has attracted many book lovers and retailers despite no investment in its promotion.
“We are very pleased with the results and we feel we have been very warmly welcomed by publishers, bookshops and, most importantly, readers”.
“Our top 15 performing bookshops include bookshops from all four nations,” Ms Vanderbilt said.
The partnership with Bookshop.org will allow indie bookshops to create their own virtual portals and will receive 30% commission on any sale made on their website plus 10% of any extra purchase, which will be evenly distributed among affiliates.
Thanks to Bookshop, small businesses have been able to thrive and to make ends meet in this unprecedented time.
“We’ve had booksellers tell us it’s helped them pay their rent. One bookseller told us it had made the difference between being able to pay their staff Christmas bonuses or not”, said Ms Vanderbilt to iNews.
And with Christmas around the corner, booksellers hope to see more demands for books.
One of them is Jessica Graham, owner of Primrose Hill Books in London. She said to EuroWeekly news: “We had a store full of books for Christmas, and suddenly we have no customers”. Her hope is that Bookshop.org will be the solution businesses really need.
And by seeing Bookshop’s initial results, her hopes are set to become reality.
By Irene Bisoni
Feature image: Threw the Looking Glass