Earlier this year, an online bookselling platform called Bookshop launched in the US. The Chicago Tribune memorably described the newly-fledged site as hoping “to play Rebel Alliance to Amazon’s Empire” – an aim that might sound like the stuff of fantasy until you take a closer look. Despite being somewhat overshadowed in the media by other events – 2020 hasn’t exactly been a quiet news year – the US version of Bookshop has already raised more than $7.5 million for the 900 or so independent bookshops on the site.Bookshop is a B-Corp, which means it’s dedicated to the public good. By design, it gives away more than 75% of its profit margin to small, independent, bricks-and-mortar bookshops, along with authors, illustrators, bloggers and sites like ours at Cast of Thousands, which are able to set up affiliate shopfronts on the site.
“An ethical and transparent platform for buying books that amplifies the uniqueness of independent bookshops, with reading lists curated by humans rather than algorithms...” Sharmaine Lovegrove for The GuardianFor small businesses and solo freelancers like me, this is probably the most optimistic shift in the landscape we’ve seen for many years. Bricks-and-mortar independent stores receive 30% of Bookshop's profits, and Affiliates like Cast of Thousands receive 10% of sales generated via their pages, with another 10% going to the stores. As promoters and sellers and book enthusiasts, we love what we do, and we know that it will never make us rich. But Bookshop’s initiative really helps, and not just financially. Raising awareness of the value of independent bookshops, being able to hand-sell the books we love, and working collectively – such things make the tough times seem worthwhile.
And HERE is the Cast of Thousands Children’s Bookshop, if you’d like to take a look.
This is what our homepage banner looks like:
Scrolling down revelas a choice of themed booklists, each relating to one or more of the features and blogs on this site:
When you click on VIEW LIST, it brings up a banner header created from the books in that list, which looks pretty good!
I can honestly say that it made me really happy listing the titles that we’ve featured on this site. We only write about books we love, and we hope you’ll love them too, and listing them on the shop is (almost) like pressing them directly into your hand. We know the value of these books – how much they’ll be enjoyed, how many learning opportunities they offer - and we really want to share that with you.
So if you’d like to check out our brand new shop - and maybe buy a couple of titles? - head over to uk.bookshop.org/shop/castofthousands and have a lovely browse!
As always, we’d love to hear your feedback, so please do get in touch by leaving a comment at the bottom of this page or using our email contact form HERE
or emailing directly at firstname.lastname@example.org
Please note that we can only offer books for sale if they are in Bookshop UK’s catalogue – which currently excludes some non-UK publishers, for example, and doesn’t include second-hand sellers. Bookshop UK’s range is expanding all the time, but if a book you’ve read about on our site is missing from our shop, that may be the reason. Or the title may have been allowed to go out of print – which is heartbreakingly common, particularly with some of the less mainstream titles that Cast of Thousands champions. It can take time for books like these to be noticed and gain the kind of sales needed to keep them in print, so it’s up to us to tell the world about them and make sure they’re shared!
If you can’t find the book you’re looking for, do tell us, though – it will help to know numbers so we can let Bookshop UK know.
“We believe that bookshops are essential to a healthy culture. They’re where authors can connect with readers, where we discover new writers, where children get hooked on the thrill of reading that can last a lifetime. They’re also anchors for our high streets and communities….” Bookshop.org
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