Faced with closures amid on and off pandemic measures and rising threats from retail giant Amazon, 250 independent UK bookshops have banded together to kickstart a new online platform — to both sustain their loyal customer base and generate newer far-reaching audiences.
The north London bookshop is one among the circle of bibliophiles to join the Bookshop.org, going live in Britain on November 2 after its prior launched in the United States.
The platform hopes to provide a lifeline to small bookshops, particularly as England has once again entered strict lockdown for a month to curb its skyrocketing infection rates.
Contrary to other nations on the bloc — Belgium being one example — authorities in Britain have deemed books non-essential items.
The needling irony for the shop-owners now being that two out of five adults have attested that they read more during the first UK-wide lockdown, introduced in late March, according to a report published by market research company Nielsen.
“Perhaps people who normally read anyway got a little bit more time and people who perhaps lost the habit of reading a little bit had picked up a book and rediscovered the pleasure and solace of reading,” mused Jessica Graham, owner of Primrose Hill Books, one among those on the platform.
The average reading time in the country has seen a rise from 3.5 hours to six hours a week, reported AFP.
There are more than 850 independent bookshops in Britain but many do not have the capability to sell online, with the Christmas shutdowns striking hard even as the shops teeter on their last legs.
Bookshop.org hopes to plug that gap and expects its number of partners to grow quickly.
Designed to emulate the experience of a bookshop online, the platform allows each bookseller to create their own digital storefront and make book selections for customers rather than leaving those decisions to an algorithm.
For each book purchased on its own carefully curated page, the bookstore receives 30 percent of the sale price.
If, on the other hand, the sale is made from Bookshop.org’s site-wide search bar, 10 percent of the sale price will be placed in a common fund and redistributed among the members.
The coronavirus pandemic and stay-at-home restrictions have been a boon for online retailers, while traditional counterparts have had to lay off staff.
According to the Kantar consulting group, international e-commerce grew by 41 percent in only three months.
[Sourced from Agencies]