It’s cold, it’s dark, things are intermittently locked down. It’s not a great time to be a bookshop. Now more than ever, customers are turning to the internet to look for books. But with on-screen face-to-face contact on the rise , it’s becoming increasingly noticeable how sterile, impersonal and monopolised the whole online shopping thing is. Corporations and algorithms and joyless basket-filling as far as the eye can see. So thank heavens for Bookshop, a new way to discover books online that has a touch of humanity to it.
A certified B Corporation (“a business that meets the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability to balance profit and purpose”), Bookshop’s mission is to financially support local, independent bookshops, who benefit from a percentage of every sale.
Publishers and booksellers alike are understandably welcoming this new platform; a new revenue stream particularly welcome while the doors are closed. At time of writing, Bookshop has raised over £434,000 for bookshops (yes, that name does confuse things). They’re not shy about the market implications of all this – the website proudly boasts the Chicago Tribune’s response to their successful US launch earlier in the year: “Bookshop.org hopes to play Rebel Alliance to Amazon’s Empire”.