Bookshop.org, an online bookshop dedicated to helping independent bookstores reach a wider online customer base, and Libro.fm, an independent audiobook company, both boasted amazing sales over the course of 2020.
In 2020, Bookshop sold fifty-one million dollars worth of books, with 1,027 stores on the platform and 1,083 stores sharing the profits. “We’ve earned $10,162,000 for bookstores this year, including direct store sales and our profit pool,” founder Andy Hunter told Publisher’s Weekly, “our next profit pool distribution will happen in January when we’ll distribute over $2 million to stores.” Bookshop was actually founded in January 2020, just before the pandemic hit. Amazon cut book sales early on in the pandemic, and book stores turned to Bookshop as they became more reliant on online sales. This immediate growth allowed Bookshop to expand. Bookshop’s UK site opened in 2020 and has already sold £ 4 million worth of books.
Image courtesy of bookshop.org
When asked about whether this growth was just due to the pandemic or if he expected them to continue, Hunter had this to say, “We expect sales to keep growing. Online book sales are a huge business and Amazon still controls nearly all of it. There’s so much room for indies to grow. Bookshop’s sales have been strong and Indiecommerce sales are up 680% over 2019, according to the ABA. We’re participating in an overall consumer awakening. We want to capitalize on that momentum, spreading the message to support local businesses and keep bookstores a vital part of their communities. We need to grow the size of the e-commerce channel for indie bookstores across the board, whether they use Bookshop, Indiecommerce, or both.”
As for what’s next for Bookshop, Hunter says they will be adding features such as reviews and to-read lists.
Digital audiobook sales also soared during 2020. Libro reported a 200% increase in sales and a 213% increase in listeners. During 2020, Libro increased its catalog by 51% and added over 70,000 new books, bringing the number of titles available to 215,000. Their bestselling audiobook of 2020? Barack Obama’s A Promised Land.