Building a New Bookstore Brand to take on Amazon
Bookshop sells books online to help indie bookstores IRL
After running book publisher Catapult for a few years and becoming increasingly connected to indie book stores everywhere, Andy Hunter – co-founder of Electric Literature and LitHub as well – decided it was time to help independent book stores succeed in a world dominated by Amazon. The premise boiled down to this: taking a bite – even 1% – out of Amazon's online book sales, and redirecting much of the profits to indie book stores, could create an important lifeline for those businesses and provide them some exposure that they may not have the funds or technical skills to create for themselves.
We'd already worked successfully with Andy in the past, so we were excited to take on this challenge. Initially, we set out to rapidly create a brand identity that could resonante with both entrenched literary folks in the book world and book lovers who may be newer to the scene. The logo mark depicts a 'B' while also implying a stack of two books. The colors are playful, unique, and far enough on the color spectrum away from Amazon that no one would confuse the two.
We knew early on that for Bookshop to be successful, we needed to create a user-friendly experience that includes fast-but-not-Prime shipping, easy onboarding for new shoppers, and a way to amplify the reach of existing book groups, stores, and influencers in the form of a generous affiliate program. We also needed decent parity with book availability with the competition, meaning metadata, assets and up-to-date inventory info for millions of SKUs, requiring a partnership with book distribution giant Ingram. After about six months, we were ready to start selling books to the public. Bookshop Beta launched in January 2020.
In the wake of COVID-19, Bookshop's role in the independent bookselling community became crucial as many businesses were forced to close their doors to the public. Amid a blaze of publicity, within months they were on course for $100M/year in revenue, and by the end of June 2020 had already raised nearly $5 million for the independent bookstores they support.
- Launching New Brands
- Product Management
Bookshop, an ecommerce startup intended to help independent bookstores assert themselves online, has Amazon in its sights.