I was excited to learn that this month, the new Bookshop.org will launch. Right now, you can get information, but this promises to soon be a site for independent bookstores to compete with Amazon that will offer authors, book reviewers, and bookstores affiliate status, paying 10% on books sold through affiliate links. A portion of sales also goes to affiliated bookstores, and books will be sold at a discount (maybe not as steep as Amazon’s, but not bad) through Ingram. What’s not to like.
Of course, bookstores can still sell books online through their own websites or through IndieBound.org. Both Bookshop and IndieBound are organized by the American Booksellers Association, who offers IndieCommerce and IndieLight e-commerce services to bookstores who want to set up online stores hosted through ABA.
The exciting thing for authors and book reviewers is that they will be able to direct link to a page for a book using an affiliate code. This isn’t possible on IndieBound because you first have to choose your bookstore before buying books. On Bookshop, the affiliate link will determine who gets a percentage of the sale and all fullfillment goes through Ingram, rather than through local bookstores. Processing should also be quicker. You will also be able to sign up to receive newsletters or other information from your local store (based on your zip code), thereby establishing a stronger relationship with local customers for the stores. And stores can set up minimalist web pages about themselves on the site. Customers should also have a user-friendly experience, including a mobile app (judging from the image of a phone on the site).
Everything is supposed to launch in January 2020, so I’m hopeful the site will be live soon. I’ve signed up for the Bookshop newsletter, so I should know as soon as it goes live and I can sign up as an affiliate and link my books to the site.