Now, this wasn’t originally my topic for this month’s Thoughtful Thursday feature but with the launch of UK Bookshop.org, which I am now an affiliate of, I wanted to do a small bonus post!
When Amazon first entered the bookselling scene back in 1995, when it labelled itself as ‘Earth’s Biggest Bookstore’, no one could have foreseen what the company would become and how it would dominate the retail sphere. Even with the launch of its eReader, the Kindle, in November 2007 people weren’t convinced that this would dramatically change the book landscape despite the fact it remained sold out until April 2008. Fast forward to today and it can’t be denied that the significant rise of online retailers have had a huge detrimental effect on smaller, independent, booksellers.
This point of this post isn’t to demonise Amazon or similar sites; I understand they are needed as they make books affordable and more accessible for some people and it’s important to recognise that not everyone is in a position where they can go out and support local bookshops, or can afford to.
With the pandemic, it is even more vital to support independent bookshops. Buying from indie booksellers not only puts money straight back into the book industry but it also helps support the booksellers themselves. Which, especially right now, can keep the shop from closing completely and help the booksellers support themselves, their families, and their employees. Even with this second lockdown in the UK, a lot of indies are offering safe ways to deliver or collect items too!
For a lot of places an independent bookshop is a lifeline within a community. Many indies offer more than just being a place to buy books; they may also host book clubs for adults and children; offer tuition or have a study space or have a cafe too. Even if an independent bookshop offers all of these additions, some of them or none of them, something that all indies can offer is expert book advice and someone to have a chat with (providing they’re not completely rushed off their feet). Booksellers are passionate about books and have dedicated themselves to sharing this passion with others.
Unfortunately for me, there isn’t an independent bookshop close to where I live. Any that we did have relatively close have all closed down in recent years. This is why I was thrilled to see the launch of bookshop.org in the UK. If you buy books through this site 10% of your total order will go to an earnings pool which is then evenly distributed to all participating independent bookshops every six months. Additionally, for bookshops that sell through the sites ‘Bookshop’ programme, they get 30% of your total order when you order through their links.
Of course, it is always best to support indies directly, which the site also helps you do. If you’re like me and don’t have one close to you or are not sure of any, then you can use the ‘Find a bookstore’ option. This will help you find a bookshop near you or you can just browse the bookshops and go to their websites and order from there too!
As I mentioned at the beginning of this post I, like many other book bloggers, have become an affiliate of bookshop.org. In addition to putting links on my posts, you may have noticed that I have a new tab on my site labelled ‘Rosie Recommends’. All of the lists you will find there are one that I have created using bookshop.org (a feature that I love). So, if you want to support indie bookshops but not sure what to buy, you can head there! Just a heads up, if you do place an order using any of my links I will earn a small commission at no extra cost to you!
Do you have a local bookshop that you adore and want to recommend? Let me know in the comments so I can check them out!