We're Delighted to Announce That We're Now Supporting Bookshop.org

We're Delighted to Announce That We're Now Supporting Bookshop.org

Tuesday, 7 April, 2020

Bookshop.org is a new online book retailer that shares its revenue with independent bookstores. Now, when you buy books using the links on our site, you have the option to make your purchase through bookshop.org to support its mission to give back to the book community.

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We are equal-opportunity readers and book-buyers. Since we moved from the United States to Prague in 2017, we’ve been reading almost exclusively on our Kindles, which means we have an intimate relationship with Amazon. (We also published our first cookbook through its CreateSpace program and sell all three of our cookbooks on Amazon now. They’re available on Bookshop.org: here, here, and here.)

When we travel anywhere in the world, we always visit local bookshops — English-language or not — and fill every extra space in our bags with books to take home.

In the Scotland episode of our podcast, our guest is Tom Hodges, owner of the brilliant Typewronger Books in Edinburgh, Scotland. We literally stumbled into his shop on a rainy evening in the unsexiest way possible: It was miserable outside, and we’d just dropped off a rental car. The warm lights of the shop beckoned us in, and the first thing Tom said asked us was, ‘Would you like a mince pie?’ We receive quarterly shipments of books from the shop via the Typewronger Subscription Service.

We also keep a log of where we buy each book in our print library. We know we picked up a novel set in Slovenia — unavailable on Kindle — at the English-language Librairie Galignani in Paris. At The Munich Readery, an all-English used bookstore in Munich, we found copies of books we already love but only had digitally. Now our physical shelves are filled with old friends.

On a recent trip to Budapest, we set aside 40 minutes to stop in at Bestsellers on our walk to the train station. With such a short time to browse, we focused on one section of shelving that features books set in Hungary and Hungarian authors in translation. We came home with a nonfiction book about the 1956 Revolution and Embers, a novel by Sandor Marai.

We’d never have discovered many of these books if we hadn’t physically stood in front of the shelves and reached out to touch the covers and spines that whispered to us.

Which is a long way to say: We are grateful for the Kindle, but we fiercely love independent bookstores and believe that they are essential to the world. Bookshop.org is bridging the significant gap between online sales and the neighborhood bookshop (you love) down the street.

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How does Bookshop.org work?

We are affiliates of Bookshop.org; that means when you buy books using our special links, we make a small commission. (That’s how our sales work with Amazon, too.) What makes Bookshop.org unique is that it’s sharing revenue with independent bookstores in two ways.

  1. Bookstores are eligible to be affiliates with Bookshop.org, and they earn 25-percent commission on any sales they generate online. All 25-percent of the sales go directly to that particular store.

  2. Ten-percent of all sales (not associated with a particular offline bookstore) goes into an earnings pool that’s divided evenly among all American Booksellers Association (ABA) independent bookstores that opt into the program.

As of today, Bookshop.org has been live for nine weeks and has earned more than $360,000 for local, independent bookstores.

What about Amazon?

We will continue to link to Amazon for people who find it more convenient to order there and for our audience outside the United States. Bookshop.org only ships within the U.S. and its member bookshops are all members of the ABA.

Indiebound is an online directory to independent bookstores and publishes the Indie Next List, a compilation of indie booksellers’ favorite books. We replaced outbound links that previously went to Indiebound with Bookshop.org links because Indiebound now uses Bookshop.org as their online retailing partner.

So, what does this all mean?

Basically, it means you can buy books online while simultaneously supporting independent bookstores and the work we do here on Strong Sense of Place. How great is that?!

For more details about the Bookshop.org mission, we recommend these articles from The Financial Times and The Washington Times.

Top image courtesy of Kevin Langlais.

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