The hero we need and deserve, bookshop.org.
Welcome to day 10. So it’s currently the 3rd of December when I’m writing this and I’m sitting in my kitchen in shorts because the oven is on and I am hot. I am in the least Christmassy mood ever but we’ll keep pushing. I haven’t even put the tree up yet.
Anyway! Today I wanted to talk about something I’m so hugely passionate about that every time I think about it, it brings a little lump to my throat. You may have noticed that lately I’ve been putting links in my posts to a website called Bookshop.org, I’ve mentioned that I’m an affiliate for them too. I found out about this website about a week ago through TikTok and after a little more research I just knew I needed to talk about them.
Bookshop was the brainchild of Andy Hunter, an American Author and co-founder of Library Hub. The concept behind Bookshop was to offer support to independent bookshops while also allowing you to buy online. It’s such a simple idea but the simple ideas are the most beautiful. When you buy a book from the website the profit, 30% of the cover price, is given to bookshops.
The website was first opened in January in the US. Hunter said when speaking to the Guardian “Five weeks into what we thought was going to be a six-month period of refining and improving and making small changes, Covid-19 hit and then suddenly we were doing massive business.” As expected it was hugely popular, starting with 250 people and soon had more than 900 dollars raising more than £5.7M for bookshops…. Just wow.
Bookshop works in such a way that allows bookshops to create their own online shop windows where books are recommended by people instead of just an algorithm. For example, a user can see what the owner of The Shetland Times Bookshop (“Britain’s most northerly general bookshop, situated over 60 degrees north and closer to Norway than to London”) personally recommends, in lists such as “wonderfully funny picture books I’ve read to the bookshop staff”, and “books to help you take life in your stride”.
Amazon is slowly taking over the world and it’s hard to ignore them, especially in the book world. When you go on Instagram or see random acts of kindness people throw around their Amazon wishlists like they’re confetti and for all this is such a nice idea it makes me so sad. “Amazon has gotten much more powerful, while there are 100-year-old stores that are hanging on for survival,” Hunter’s said. And I totally agree, why would you help make a man worth $187.8 billion richer when you can help support a family run business who have had a lifelong dream to run a bookshop that they’re now at risk of losing.
As book lovers it’s our job to make sure we support bookshops and now you have a way to do this from your home. So please, please, please take some time to check out this website and see the amazing things they’re doing. They’ve recently opened up in the UK, with 130 books already signed up and 200 expected to sign up by the end of the year. It’s so cool!!!!!!
Check out my last blog post here where I talked about the Goodread awards winners and maybe consider subscribing to my newsletter on the right.
Find your local independent bookshop here and check out Bookshop.org here, a website that directly helps independent bookshops, or Hive to find ones that deliver, shops need your support now more than ever.