By Elizabeth Edwards, BA English
This November has seen the launch of the much anticipated Bookshop.org. Having launched in the US earlier in the year to tremendous success, Bookshop.org has landed in the UK and offers booklovers an alternative to Amazon when browsing and purchasing their latest literary fancies. Initially scheduled to launch in the UK in 2021 or even 2022, the immense success of the American launch made founder Andy Hunter see no need to delay his UK plans.
Stateside, Bookshop.org now works in partnership with more than 900 bookshops and has raised more than $7.5 million for independent bookshops across the United States. In the UK, the site has launched in partnership with more than 130 independent bookshops and, if the success in America is anything to go by, the sky’s the limit.
Now more than ever, it is imperative to support our local sellers whether that means coffee shops rather than the big chains, local fruit and vegetable shops rather that the supermarket or an independent bookshop rather than Amazon. For many, Amazon’s appeal has transcended its many failings purely due to the ease and convenience of the service.
‘It goes without saying that Covid-19 has been a disaster for our local stores, especially as Amazon continues to expand.’
Now that this convenience has been replicated by a selling platform that has the support of independent shops at the very heart of its identity, it has never been easier to offer our support to the shops that need it the most. It goes without saying that Covid-19 has been a disaster for our local stores, especially as Amazon continues to expand.
Hunter believes a major reason for the success of Bookshop.org’s launch has been customers’ awareness of the strain local booksellers are under. Furthermore, Bookshop.org has captured a charmingly personal shopping experience and replicated the buying experience of an indie bookshop in this new online platform.
The homepage of Bookshop.org is made up entirely of recommendations, sorted into different categories, ensuring something will be found to suit everyone as well as mimicking the suggestion table one often finds in a physical shop. As well as these directions, the consumer is also able to access selected recommendations from particular shops from all over the country. This gives the distinct impression of engaging with an actual person, a feeling we are surely all craving amongst the social impact of the coronavirus restrictions.
So, this year for Christmas, turn your attention to Bookshop.org for all of your Christmas present needs. This fantastic initiative has already raised more than £250,000 for our local bookshops and, with all of our support, that’s only the beginning. Happy browsing.
Photo Caption: A London bookshop at night (Credit: Creative Commons).