The ABA Board is excited to announce an affinity partnership with Bookshop, a new online bookselling platform designed to support independent bookstores!
What is Bookshop?
Bookshop is a national online platform that offers socially conscious consumers an alternative to major online and big box e-commerce retailers. It’s a website that provides a book community for readers as well as easy purchasing, an intuitive interface, and fast shipping for books while ensuring independent bookstores benefit from the revenue.
Why a new platform?
As the U.S. e-commerce market continues to grow year-over-year, indie bookstores need a new approach to competing more effectively online.
We believe that there are consumers who shop online and would choose to support indie bookstores if there were a visible and convenient alternative to Amazon and others.
Dependency on affiliate revenue and reluctance to choose one indie bookstore over another are two reasons why authors, bloggers, and publications continue to use Amazon buy buttons. Bookshop offers twice the affiliate commission that Amazon does while also providing a way to support specific indie bookstores or all ABA member bookstores. All a member bookstore needs to do is add buy buttons and create affiliate pages.
Another advantage of Bookshop is that authors, bloggers, and publications that have more than one bookstore in their community can support all of them equally, and readers in communities that don’t have their own independent bookstore but who still want to support independent bookstores can do so through Bookshop.org.
The creator of Bookshop, Andy Hunter, has a long history of supporting books and book culture—as a publisher (Catapult, Counterpoint, and Soft Skull Press), a web publisher (Literary Hub, CrimeReads, and Book Marks), and the founder of Electric Literature.
Bookshop is a B-Corp, a corporation that puts its mission and the public good above financial interests. The company’s core values align with ours as indie booksellers.
Bookshop’s bylaws explicitly state that the company will never be sold to Amazon or any other major retailer. Bookshop’s commitment is to indie bookstores.
The people behind Bookshop are very well connected. Bookshop expects to launch with major affiliate partners, including all the Big 5 publishers, the New York Times, The New York Review of Books, Literary Hub, Electric Literature, and many more.
Which bookstores have already indicated their support for Bookshop?
- A Seat at the Table
- Bard’s Alley
- Bookburgh Books
- Books & Books
- Book Soup
- Boulder Book Store
- Carmichael’s Bookstore
- Devaney, Doak and Garrett Booksellers
- Dudley’s Bookshop
- Duende District Books
- Fiction Addiction
- Flyleaf Books
- Gatsby Books
- Green Apple Books
- Left Bank Books
- My Sister’s Books
- Northshire Bookstore
- Page 158
- Paper Garden Books LLC
- Papercuts J.P.
- Paulina Springs Books
- Politics & Prose Bookstore
- Queen Anne Book Company
- Roebling Point Books & Coffee
- The Book Jewel
- The Bookshop Nashville
- The Dog Eared Book
- Vroman’s Bookstore
- Waucoma Bookstore
- Whitelam Books
Bookshop has been working with ABA staff, the ABA Board, and the Booksellers Advisory Council for over a year, answering questions and refining the platform and model. This conversation has been very productive and will continue after the upcoming launch. ABA booksellers will always have three seats on the Bookshop Board of Directors. As a result of this collaborative partnership and shared goals, Bookshop has received positive and enthusiastic support from both the ABA Board and ABA Booksellers Advisory Council.
What does Bookshop consist of?
Readers can visit Bookshop.org by connecting to the domain name online or via a link from an affiliate bookstore, author, or publication to buy books and to participate in a community of readers. Bookstores, authors, and publications can create their pages with recommendations, photos, bios, and search. Bookshop anticipates thousands of curated pages from bookstores, authors, chefs recommending favorite cookbooks, travelers, celebrity book clubs, mainstream media, blogs, Instagrammers, and many more. Bookshop wants to bring the rich experience of indie bookstores online.
Which bookstores are eligible to sign up with Bookshop?
Only brick-and-mortar, ABA Regular Members can be a partner and/or an affiliate of Bookshop.
How would this work for my store?
Bookstores can participate in Bookshop in two ways:
- Become a partner. Whether you choose to set up an affiliate page on Bookshop or not you can still opt in as a partner. Partners will automatically receive 10% of the profit distribution pool from revenue generated by Bookshop. All stores have to do is sign up! There’s no fee to become a partner.
- Become an affiliate. On Bookshop.org, indie bookstores can have their own affiliate page where they can feature staff picks and other lists. Sales from your store’s page will earn your store a 25% commission. Stores with or without websites can have an affiliate page on Bookshop.org. Stores that use IndieCommerce or IndieLite can continue to do so while also using a Bookshop link on social media, in emails, etc. The advantage to your store is that you don’t have to worry about inventory or fulfillment. The setup is easy and tech support will be provided. And there’s no fee to become an affiliate!
- Join the community! Indie bookstores can also support Bookshop by using the site and engaging with the online community it hopes to build.
Who is handling fulfillment of Bookshop orders?
What happens to IndieBound?
The IndieBound site will continue to operate as usual but beginning in early 2020 all buy links to individual books on IndieBound.org will be redirected to Bookshop.org.
What happens to my store’s website (including IndieCommerce and IndieLite sites)?
Nothing. Everything your store is doing now can coexist with Bookshop. It’s Bookshop’s goal to capture the sales that your website is not getting through publication and author affiliate links that are going to Amazon and others. Your regular customers and locals will still visit your store’s website and Bookshop is not interested in taking that business away from stores.
What would it mean if all ABA bookstores signed up with Bookshop?
The more indie bookstores who participate in Bookshop, the more we’ll all benefit financially from online book sales shifting from Amazon. The high participation will allow Bookshop to capture parts of the market that Amazon has historically dominated and will communicate loudly and clearly to consumers how they can support indie bookstores.
When is Bookshop launching?
Bookshop will launch at the end of January 2020 with the basic platform and continue to evolve. Bookshop is committed to ongoing improvements with feedback from its affiliates, partners, and readers.
Can I choose to go with another vendor instead of Bookshop?
Members are always free to make their own choices about vendors and providers.
How can I find out more?
- Email email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org with your questions, comments, and concerns
- Contact ABA staff at email@example.com or ABA Board members
- Attend the Bookshop session or visit the Consultation Station at Winter Institute
ABA Board of Directors
- Jamie Fiocco (president), Flyleaf Books, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Bradley Graham (vice president/secretary), Politics and Prose Bookstore, email@example.com
- Kenny Brechner, Devaney, Doak & Garrett Booksellers, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Jenny Cohen, Waucoma Bookstore, email@example.com
- Kelly Estep, Carmichael’s Bookstore, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Kris Kleindienst, Left Bank Books, email@example.com
- Chris Morrow, Northshire Bookstore, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Pete Mulvihill, Green Apple Books, email@example.com
- Christine Onorati, WORD, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Angela Maria Spring, Duende District, email@example.com
- Tegan Tigani, Queen Anne Book Company, firstname.lastname@example.org