Bookshop is a socially conscious alternative to Amazon and has become an important tool for independent bookstores. They can divert customers online and help them buy books they wouldn’t otherwise buy on Amazon.
Its goal is to mirror the browsing experience in a physical bookshop, with experts curating recommendation lists. Its users browse virtual tables of titles and order their books, with shipping and customer service handled by Bookshop.
2. Easily manage your inventory
Unlike Amazon, Bookshop has an explicit mission to promote and financially support local bricks-and-mortar bookstores. Its platform is easy to use, allowing customers who don’t already buy books online from indie stores to do so with one click.
They offer a free e-commerce flow and fulfillment service that allows participating bookstores to avoid the costs of building their own online sales platforms and managing a massive inventory. Plus, their high conversion rates make it easier for customers to find books they’re looking for.
Bookshop also pays bookstores for every purchase made on its platform, with 10% of profits from affiliate and direct sales going into a pool that’s evenly distributed to participating indie bookstores nationwide every six months. They’ve also created a community of booksellers who curate curated lists of book recommendations for shoppers.
3. Sell your books online
Online bookselling allows you to reach a large audience with ease. It also enables you to build customer loyalty and establish connections with readers.
It’s possible to make money selling your old books, but the process takes time. You’ll need to search for each book by ISBN (a 10-13 digit code located on the back of the book or copyright page), compare offers, and ship them to the vendor.
Some books will fetch a higher price than others. Textbooks tend to sell the best, since students are always looking for the latest editions in their field of study. Alternatively, you can donate your books to local schools and libraries or create one of those little street free library houses that help neighbors and children find new reading material.
5. Build a national brand
A few of the 1,100 bookstores on Bookshop have started to build a national presence, Hunter says. “Black owned bookstores are creating lists — anti-racist reading lists for example, with James Baldwin or Ibram Kendi books — that are driving hundreds of thousands of dollars in sales for them.” Bookshop also lets stores create custom book lists and widgets that can be used on their websites. When customers buy books from those links, they can choose to have their commission go toward a specific bookstore or into Bookshop’s 10 percent profit-share pool that is split every six months. Bookshop is free to use for ABA members. It offers order fulfillment through a wholesaler and handles customer service. It’s a counter to Amazon’s dominance, Hunter says.