What is IndieBound.org?
IndieBound.org is ABA’s consumer-facing marketing initiative that promotes independent bookstores. IndieBound.org has an independent bookstore store finder, the indie bestseller list, the Indie Next list and Kids Next list, and information about other independent bookstore programs.
IndieBound.org is not a part of the IndieCommerce or IndieLite platforms.
What is this switch?
IndieBound.org buy buttons are being switched to Bookshop.org buy buttons on IndieBound.org as well as on publisher, author, and media sites that are affiliates.
Why is the switch happening?
The shift to Bookshop.org buttons will help eliminate consumer confusion, improve data for the indie channel, convert more consumers, generate more revenue for booksellers (thanks to a simpler purchase flow and higher conversion rate), and optimize the impact of Bookshop.org for independent bookstores. With a united front, the ecommerce market share for indies can grow significantly.
The current situation, with Indiebound and Bookshop.org links dividing the market, creates confusion for publishers, authors, and influencers who want to support local bookstores when linking to books online. Publishers, authors, and affiliate publications are hesitant to link anywhere but Amazon, because they need to sell books. By more effectively selling books, Bookshop.org makes it easier for them to use links that support independent bookstores, and helps give the indie channel the leverage that it needs.
What will happen to IndieBound.org?
Indiebound.org is not going away. It will remain a place to find independent bookstores, discover the Indie Next list, and host other ABA resources for indie bookstores. It will still host a store finder and the indie bestseller list. All “buy” links to individual books on Indiebound.org will now be redirected to Bookshop.org, and industry partners will be instructed to use Bookshop.org links instead of IndieBound.org links in the future.
Why not just improve IndieBound.org?
In 2019, Bookshop.org was created in collaboration with the ABA as a replacement for IndieBound.org, with a goal to earn more money for independent bookstores, publishers, and authors by more effectively converting referral traffic to sales.
Bookshop.org improved upon the user experience, built business relationships, and successfully addressed the reasons IndieBound.org was created in the first place: to create an indie-friendly alternative to Amazon links on the internet.
What do I do if my store is not on Bookshop.org?
Getting set up on Bookshop.org is easy — it takes only about 30 minutes and doesn’t require any technical knowledge.
We also recommend you sign up for their profit sharing pool, if you haven’t already. It distributes about $3 million to indie bookstores every year, and there are no strings attached.
Just reach out to [email protected].
I don’t want a Bookshop.org page; I want customers to buy from my website.
That’s great! Bookshop.org’s bookstore finder can include any physical ABA member bookstore (mobile, pop-up, physical storefront) and directly link to your site. Just reach out to [email protected].
Why would I want a Bookshop.org page?
Bookshop.org’s conversion rate for bookstore pages is 12% — three times the national average for ecommerce sites. That means more customers who visit your page will buy books.
You get the customer’s information, including their email address, after they purchase on Bookshop.org. You are welcome to send them an email encouraging them to shop on your site directly in the future.
Bookshop.org does national marketing and brings over 1000 customers to their bookstore finder every day. Stores on the Bookshop.org platform are able to acquire customers from all over the country
Bookshop.org handles all the customer service, taxes, and fees. You just collect the money.
Bookshop.org was a key factor in the profitability of many stores in 2021. The average indie bookstore net operating profit was 1.5%, but Bookshop.org proceeds contributed an additional 0.9% to net income before taxes.
What if I already have an IndieCommerce or IndieLite ecommerce site?
Great! Many stores have IndieCommerce or IndieLite ecommerce sites and a Bookshop page. This allows you to meet your customers wherever they are and find potential new customers.
How do I know my customers are being taken care of?
Bookshop.org has 4.9 stars out of 5 on Trustpilot, with over 17,000 reviews. It is the highest rated online bookstore in the world when it comes to customer service.
Isn’t Bookshop.org a competitor to my store’s website?
Bookshop.org is an umbrella that supports all physical independent bookstores. Bookshop.org’s marketing, partnerships, and advocacy have greatly increased independent bookstores’ share of the online channel, increasing the size of the pie. Bookshop.org is additive.
Bookshop.org acquires Amazon customers: 78% of Bookshop.org’s customers say they switched from Amazon.
The indie channel pie has grown bigger during the last few years! Even with Bookshop launching in 2020…
In-store sales in 2021 and 2022 were, on average, higher than in 2019.
Independent bookstores’ direct online sales, off their individual websites, have increased an average of 300%.
Overall, the online market share for indie bookstores is up 500%
The $8 million+ that Bookshop.org distributes each year comes in addition to, not at the expense of, in-store and direct bookstore website sales.
A rising tide lifts all boats, and the message to customers has been to support indie bookstores when shopping online. This momentum is good for all stores.
Won’t I lose revenue from IndieBound.org referrals to my website?
Unfortunately, IndieBound.org has resulted in few referral sales for most stores. For those stores who have received referrals the revenue has been minimal. As a result we’re not losing something with the switch, we’re gaining an opportunity (see “Why is the switch happening?” above).
How can we trust Bookshop.org to respect our best interests?
Bookshop.org has a seven person board of directors that includes three independent bookstore representatives at all times.
Bookshop.org has an advisory board of 19 independent booksellers.
Bookshop.org’s shareholder agreement forbids its sale to Amazon or any other major national retailer.
Bookshop.org is a Benefit Corporation with a mission to support local bookstores.
Bookshop.org is a Certified B-Corp. B-Labs, which accredits all B-Corps, has awarded Bookshop.org a "Best for the World" designation: it is one of the top 5% of certified B-Corps, holding to the highest standards of ethics, sustainability, social responsibility, and civic engagement.
The American Booksellers Association is a shareholder (3.5%) in Bookshop.org.
If I’m a publisher, author, blogger, or other IndieBound affiliate, what do I need to do to make this switch?
If you already have a Bookshop.org buy button, you can just remove your IndieBound.org button on March 1, 2023.
If you don’t have a Bookshop.org button, your IndieBound.org button will automatically redirect to Bookshop.org on March 1, 2023 until you can contact Bookshop.org to set up an affiliate account and replace the IndieBound.org button with a Bookshop.org buy button.
ABA will be notifying IndieBound.org affiliates of this change and providing instructions for Bookshop.org buy buttons.