New kid on the block bookshop.org wants you to know that you don’t have to buy books “the old-fashioned way” to support independent shops. And so far, it’s working. Since the site’s beta launch in January, they’ve already given close to $8 million back to local bookstores.
For a local store owner, e-commerce can feel like a whole new world. Bookshop.org is the only one doing what it does—it helps independent bookstores reclaim a slice of the market by giving them an online platform, without the bookstore itself having to pivot entirely to digital. (At NCR, we call that connection between physical operation and its digital presence bridging the gap.)
Bookshop.org’s mission is to “financially support local, independent bookstores.” They achieve that mission in a few ways, namely by donating more than 75% of its profit margins to “stores, publications, authors and others who make up the thriving, inspirational culture around books.” Similar to the idea that indie bookstores aren’t in direct competition with Amazon Books, Bookshop.org doesn’t want to replace Amazon. It wants to do better.
Bookshop.org’s pillar is connection. It wants to connect online shoppers to independent book stores and give back to those stores accordingly. It demonstrates that value by not only giving bookstores their profits back but also giving to all of the other voices that contribute to a book’s (and a bookstore’s) success. According to Forbes, “Bookshop’s 10% commission for affiliate publications is roughly twice Amazon’s 4.5% affiliate commission.” A higher commission means better payback for authors, publishers and publications when they share a Bookshop.org link. And more Bookshop traffic means more giveback to the stores themselves.