Look no farther than bookstores like Borders or Barnes & Noble to see the impact of Amazon’s disruption in the publishing world. But a new website in the U.K. is aiming to give local bookstores a fighting chance against the eCommerce giant.
The new Web app and Chrome extension Bookindy allows users to peruse the offerings of Amazon, but also displays the price of the same book available from local bookstores. By presenting users with an option to bypass Amazon and instead purchase locally, Bookindy is helping independent bookstores fight back.
"For years, I’ve been buying more and more goods from Amazon, they’re convenient and trustworthy. While this convenience culture sates our appetite to buy whatever we want, whenever we want, local businesses are losing out, and in the long run this is to the detriment of the local economy and community,” Bookindy founder William Cookson told TechCrunch.
"There is no tech champion for local bookshops, individually they cannot compete with the likes of Amazon online. It’s not that Amazon is always cheaper (though a lot of best sellers are discounted) or that Amazon’s products are better (the books are the same), but Amazon has consolidated so many products and has become the one-stop shop for everything, the de facto,” Cookson added.
Bookindy operates in partnership with Hive, an independent online U.K. retailer that was created specifically to support local bookshops.
After making a purchase via Bookindy, users can pick up their order at a local bookstore or have it delivered — either way, the local bookshops are being supported due to Hive’s revenue share model.
"Bookindy takes a 5 percent affiliate fee for any book purchase, whether it’s delivered to [your] door or picked up in the local bookshop,” Cookson said. “The Chrome Extension effectively becomes a crowdsourced deal finder, giving data on what books people are searching for on Amazon and highlighting whether your local bookshop or Amazon is cheaper. Bookindy will be able to broadcast this outside the Chrome Extension and the plan is to create a comparison marketplace/feed.”
Although the service is only available in the U.K. at this time, The Huffington Post reported the founders are working on the creation of extensions for the U.S. and beyond.
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