How you have the power to help your local book shop flourish during lockdown

We’ve all done it, defaulted to a certain website to buy our goods because ‘it’s just soooo convenient’.

Though as consumers, we have the power to help the little guys too and put our money where our mouth is when we say we want to save small businesses.

In particular, our local bookshops are under severe threat with the arrival of the second national lockdown and, quite simply, they need us.

[Credit: Kinga Cichewicz]

Now, you won’t even need to leave your house to support them, thanks to the fabulous – an online store with a mission to financially support independent shops.

Their website collates information on books from local stores and ships orders straight to your front door to read material from the comfort of your own sofa.

Having launched in the US earlier this year, the company are spreading their wings to hit UK shores and are now in partnership with more than 130 shops.

The team believe that bookshops are essential to a healthy culture, where authors can connect with readers and where children can get hooked on the thrill of stories. They are now on a mission to make sure people stay connected through the art of reading, but they need our help.

[Credit: Bethany Laird]

Customers are encouraged to logon to the site to find their local store, choose a purchase, and that shop will receive the full profit from the order as deliver it.

The crew also want to give back to everyone who promotes books, authors, and independent bookshops and have therefore created an affiliate programme, which pays a 10% commission on every sale and gives a matching 10% to independent bookshops.

So, if you are an author, website, magazine, run a book club, promote books on your Instagram feed, or are an organisation that wants to recommend books, you can sign up to be an affiliate by starting your own shop and being rewarded for the advocacy of books.

Speaking about the growing initiative, founder Andy Hunter said it has been “a wild ride” since launch in January.

[Credit: Stanislav Kondr]

Andy explained: “Five weeks into what we thought was going to be a six-month period of refining and improving and making small changes, Covid-19 hit and then suddenly we were doing massive business.

“We were four employees plus me, working at home, getting up as early as we could and going to bed as late as we could, trying to make it all work. It was a real white-knuckle ride.

“But it was extremely gratifying because the whole time we were getting messages from stores saying, ‘Thank God you came along, you’ve paid our rent, you’ve paid our health insurance this year.’ If you’re going to have to work in insane circumstances and with huge amounts of stress, it’s good to be doing it in something you feel good about.”

Meanwhile, the company’s mission statement says they hope that can help strengthen the fragile ecosystem and margins around bookselling and keep local bookshops an integral part of our culture and communities.

Lockdown or no lockdown, with winter looming, there’s never been a better reason to grab a book and curl up under the duvet with a new title.

For more information, click here:

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