A new online bookshop has launched in the UK , which provides a more socially conscious alternative to large companies like Amazon. Bookshop.org was launched on 2 November following its great success in the US. Andy Hunter developed the site as he wanted to help increase sales for local and independent bookshops. So far, more than 130 British bookshops have signed up and more than £400,000 worth of books were sold in its opening week.
The site allows bookshops to have their own virtual shopfront and they can earn the full profit margin of 30% commission on all sales. Also, 10% of sales across the whole site is distributed to independent bookshops across the country.
“It’s hard for us to compete with someone that’s got its own warehouse and sells books sometimes at a loss, or at very small profit margins. We just can’t do that. So it’s nice that Bookshop.org is going to rival Amazon in a way we couldn’t on our own or even collectively,” said Georgia Eckert, of Imagined Things bookshop in Harrogate.
This launch was brought forward as bookshops became troubled by the new lockdown restrictions – especially with it also being the run-up to Christmas. “If you don’t get there before Christmas, and give people a way to support their stores and buy their gift books, then it’s gonna be really catastrophic for shops, which is why we’ve scrambled all hands on deck to get it up,” said Hunter.
The UK launch has already received a lot of praise from independent shops across the country: “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,” Ms Nicole Vanderbilt, the UK company managing director, said.