|Weekly News Digest
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Bookshop's Imperative to 'Dethrone' Amazon
Kara Weisenstein writes the following in the Mic article “This Online Book Shop Is Trying to Dethrone Amazon by Siphoning Its Revenue to Indie Bookstores”:
Launched just last January, the [Bookshop] online bookstore seeks to be the indie alternative to Amazon, with a chunk of proceeds getting kicked back to small stores. Bookshop’s founder, Andy Hunter, is an indie literature guy himself, as the publisher of Catapult and the website Lit Hub. He figured taking back any market share from Amazon could be a windfall for small bookstores. After all, Jeff Bezos’s behemoth accounts for around 70 percent of online book sales and the pandemic has strengthened its dominance as world’s largest online retailer. …
After nearly a year in business, Bookshop is doing remarkably well. Back in June, The New York Times reported the fledgling retailer was poised to blow past $40 million in sales in 2020—a milestone Hunter didn’t expect to reach until 2022. According to the ticker on its homepage, Bookshop has siphoned more than $8 million to local bookstores. ‘There were a number of skeptics about whether this would work,’ Bradley Graham, co-owner of Politics & Prose in Washington, DC, told the Times. ‘Bookshop has certainly worked better than anybody anticipated, because nobody anticipated a pandemic.’
It’s true: the entire industry has been upended by the pandemic, and Bookshop is probably lucky it launched when it did. …
Bookshop has worked hard to recreate the experience of browsing a brick-and-mortar store, discovering recommendations from real-life humans who love books. It’s not a replacement for these spaces, but at least as long as they’re sidelined, Bookshop offers a compelling alternative to Amazon.
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