One of the key features of IndieBound.org is "Shop Local Online," which directs book buyers to the website of a bookstore near them. Books featured on the Indie Next List, the Indie Bestseller Lists, and elsewhere on the site include links for consumers to buy the book. Click on one of these links, enter your zip code, and you'll be presented with some online shopping options near you. And if you do it today, you might notice some new stores on the list.
The new technologies behind IndieBound.org have made it possible to include ABA member stores with e-commerce systems other than ABA's E-Commerce Solution. Thanks to an agreement between ABA and BookSite, Shop Local Online now includes all ABA member stores with BookSite.
"'Shop Local Online' keeps online sales at independent bookstores, and we're excited to expand this to include more ABA members," noted Matt Supko, the association's web content coordinator. "But the heart of IndieBound.org is really the 'offline' component of shopping local: log on, learn something, and then get out and discover a store near you." The Indie Store Finder, the central feature of IndieBound.org, displays all ABA member stores on a map. Users can search the map by zip code, city, or even find stores close to their own address. Driving directions are also available.
The Indie Store Finder map integrates with the Indie Community, which allows registered users to interact by becoming "fans" of their favorite stores. Community members may contribute additional independent retailers, such as hardware stores, bicycle retailers, and toy stores, to the Indie Store Finder map. The idea, Supko said, is to "help consumers discover new friends, and new stores through other users with whom they share common interests." Since the launch of the Indie Community in September, about 1,600 people have contributed almost 700 stores.
ABA member stores that offer full e-commerce service through systems other than ABA's E-Commerce Solution or BookSite are invited to contact Supko about how to be listed in Shop Local Online. To be listed, members' websites must include a comprehensive product database, searchable by ISBN, and secure credit card payment.
ABA member stores that have not already done so are strongly encouraged to join the Indie Community, review their bookstore listing, and network with other stores and users. Stores may also wish to invite staff and customers to join and become a "fan" of theirs. Stores that use Constant Contact to communicate with customers can find some cut-and-paste template code at www.bookweb.org/indiebound/booksellers/community-invite.