Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are Affiliate Links. That means if you click on a link and purchase an item, we receive an affiliate commission at no cost to you. All opinions remain our own. We are affiliated with Bookshop.org to help support Indie Bookshops. Click here to learn more about our decision!
You may have noticed when looking at our book lists, there is a deficiency of links to certain online stores. There was even a time, before we had officially started this website, that we were affiliates of one of those online retailers.
However, as we continued to discuss the goals of Alchemy Bookshop, the more aligning ourselves with organizations such as Amazon felt disingenuous to our goals of creating a website dedicated to shopping small, our future independent bookshop, and other independent bookshops out there.
As the pandemic has shut down small businesses all over my local community and the rest of the United States, big corporations such as Walmart, Target, and Amazon are earning billions more this year. My greatest fear with the pandemic is that if we don’t support our local businesses one day we are going to wake up and everything has been replaced by Walmart and McDonalds.
How could we in our little corner of the internet promote books, small businesses, and independent bookshops during these times?
Shop Small, Shop Local!
Bookshop.org is an online bookstore that came into being relatively recently with the mission to create an online book shopping experience that supports the independent bookshops that are so important to our community. Bookselling is a business with fairly narrow profit margins compared to other retailers and requires a large stock on hand (BOOKS) that costs more than average for a retailer to keep up.
So What is the Profit Margin of Bookselling?
The typical profit margin of bookselling is about 30-40%. That may seem like a lot but when you are comparing to other types of retailers such as clothing, it is actually fairly low. This doesn’t include all the operating expenses including rent, employee wages, taxes, etc that go into operating a business with a physical storefront.
The Benefits of Becoming an Affiliate and Buying From Bookshop.org
Bookshop.org allows independents to create a virtual storefront and any books purchased online through the storefront provide their entire 30% profit margin back to the independent bookshop. That is incredible!
Affiliates (such as us since our bookshop is still in the process) earn 10% and another 10% is provided back to other independent bookshops. Especially with all of us trapped inside these days, this provides a safe online shopping experience for you and your local bookshop is still earning an income.
Aligning ourselves with Bookshop.org was an easy choice as a way we could help cover the ongoing costs of blogging (blogging is not free, y’all) and supporting independents (including our future shop!).
Not to mention, Bookshop.org has been a joy to use during this pandemic. All of my orders have been delivered in 3-4 days which is comparable to other big retailers in my remote location.
New Books are F***ing Expensive!
Now, we FULLY understand that not everybody has the additional income to buy more books, especially new hardcover books ($$$). There was a time in my early twenties that I was broke and could only afford one new book every 3-4 months. I would spend HOURS deciding which one, a nerve-wracking decision.
And the worst part?!?! I purchased the Game of Throne novels with those few dollars. If only I would have known he would never finish the series…
We want to encourage you to read, however you can, whether it is from the library, e-books, borrowing from a friend, stealing from your mom (possibly have done that a few times growing up), or used paperbacks/hardbacks. But if you want to buy books from THE RIVER (hehe), we are going to make you take the additional step to search for the book yourself.
My Most Recent Indie Bookshop Haul. When you live far from one, you spend all your money in one fell swoop 😀
Our Book Buying Philosophy
My personal philosophy is that I buy physical books from my closest Independent (75miles away so, unfortunately, that isn’t too often), through Bookshop.org or book subscriptions. We have been in the incredibly privileged position that though our hours were cut, none of the three of us nor our partners lost our primary jobs during COVID times.
Now, there are certain authors we LOVE and will always support via buying the physical copy, but that is a personal decision we make to support the authors we love the most. I borrow e-books and audiobooks from the library on my E-Reader, and my last resort is buying an E-Book copy typically when that is the only version available- which is common with smaller Indie or self published authors.
My personal preference is reading from physical books unless I’m packing to go on an extended trip (trip, what’s a trip?) because packing 10 + books in my suitcase doesn’t leave much space to buy more books 😀 .
What’s your philosophy for buying books? Have you used bookshop.org or indiebound.org yet?