Bookshop is an online e-commerce book marketplace founded in January 2020. Its stated mission is "to financially support local, independent bookstores."
Bookshop was founded by publisher Andy Hunter. Hunter had previously co-founded Literary Hub and Electric Literature. Bookshop is operated in collaboration between Hunter, the American Booksellers Association, and the book wholesaler Ingram.
On 2 November 2020 Bookshop opened a branch in the UK, uk.bookshop.org. The UK store is operated in partnership with wholesalers Gardners Books, which also operates Hive.co.uk, which similarly operates a profit share with nominated UK independent bookshops.
Bookshop takes and fulfills orders for independent booksellers through its own online storefront. It functions via an affiliate marketing model that returns a set portion of profits.
When a sale is made through an affiliate link, the referrer receives 10%, the publisher receives 50%, Bookshop receives 5–10%, and a pool of participating independent bookstores receives 10%. When independent bookstores refer a sale, they receive a 25% commission before any related fees. While these independent retailers would normally make 40–45% of the sale when selling books themselves, the independent retailers may make more in commissions, up to 25%, as opposed to the 4.5% Amazon offers referrers.
Bookshop also lets authors, publishers, and reviewers sign up as affiliates.
The website's strategy is to offer an online storefront with the accessibility and convenience of Amazon, and to potentially re-target Amazon customers towards by convincing media outlets to link to Bookshop instead. The website is planning features to let customers sign up for their local bookstore's newsletter, and receipts will show local bookstore information based on the customer's address.
Bookshop was conceived as an e-commerce response to Amazon's industry dominance. Bookshop aims to claim 1% of the $3.1 billion in United States book sales handled by Amazon as of late 2019. As of April 2020, Bookshop had paid out $1 million to American bookstores. Bookshop paid out $7.5 million by the end of October 2020.
Independent booksellers and independent publishers have expressed concerns that Bookshop is, rather than benefiting them, a new long-term competitor in the publishing ecosystem.
It has been estimated that sales through Bookshop.org sales may be 13-20% less profitable than if customers buy directly from an independent bookstore.
Bookshop anticipates that independent bookstores with successful online storefronts, such as Powell's, will not participate. Bookshop has stated that they will avoid competing with these booksellers.
- "About BookShop". bookshop.org. Retrieved April 23, 2021.
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