Bookshop.org, the online bookstore on a mission to support independent bookshops, has completed a $1.8 million (£1.5m) angel fundraising round, which will be used to add audiobooks and eBooks to its UK platform.
For the first time, independent bookshops in the UK will be able to offer audiobooks and eBooks to their customers, all available on one easy-to-use platform. Integrating eBooks and audiobooks into its online store, Bookshop.org will also develop a mobile app for customers to enjoy a high-quality reading or listening experience.
The platform will apply the same business model as their physical book sales: UK bookshops will be able to keep the full profit margin of any eBooks or audiobooks they sell, while all other sales will generate 10% for the profit pool, which is shared equally among all participating bookshops.
The scheme will allow the over 550 independent booksellers on the platform to add eBooks and audiobooks to their websites and their Bookshop.org affiliate pages seamlessly, while customers who want to support local, independent bookshops will have a single home where all their online book purchases can live.
Bookshop.org is planning to launch a private beta version of the service in late 2023, followed by a full launch in 2024.
Andy Rossiter, Rossiter Books, said: “I am delighted that Bookshop.org are developing an audiobook and eBook platform. This market has been completely dominated by Amazon for years so to have it opened up to independent bookshops by a completely trusted partner is fantastic news. Hundreds of independents have already built a strong relationship with Bookshop.org, so together I’m certain that the offering will be intelligently tailored towards what our customers are looking for and will be a tremendous benefit to independent booksellers.”
Carl Gosling and Sophie Green, Real Magic Books, Wendover, said: “We’re excited to see Bookshop.org continue to grow and find new and innovative ways to support independent book retailers. It makes perfect sense for this successful platform to assist bookshops in the eBook and audiobook market. It should allow readers to enjoy all the choices they want in their book buying, whilst being able to still support the truly independent and local businesses they love.”
Emma Corfield-Walters, Book-ish, Crickhowell, said: “I’m very excited about the audiobooks opportunities. I know that many booksellers, including myself, have felt that independents are missing out on a big element of book sales, so to be able to finally benefit from this would be amazing and would in turn expose us to new customers and enable us to support our customers with visual impairment.”
Ross Bradshaw, Five Leaves Bookshop, Nottingham, said: “Five Leaves Bookshop regularly now gets asked for audiobooks, often by regular customers who want to order through us. If Bookshop.org can do this, it will be great addition to what we can offer.”
Nicole Vanderbilt, Managing Director of Bookshop.org UK, said: “We are incredibly excited to be developing an audiobook and eBook offer on our platform. Independent bookshops in the UK have never had access to this market before, so Bookshop.org is proud to offer a great alternative for anyone who wants to purchase (and enjoy) eBooks and audiobooks and support independent bookshops at the same time. One of our goals is to ensure indie bookshops thrive in the age of ecommerce, and creating new revenue streams for bookshops, while providing a viable alternative to Amazon, is precisely how we want to achieve this.”