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The little book sellers that could

Washington Post – How indie stores managed to take a slice of Amazon business – “In January, before life in America was upended by the coronavirus, a start-up called launched a beta site to sell books online. Its goal was simple: to slice off a sliver of Amazon’s giant share of book sales and push it toward indie bookstores, which have long struggled to maintain footing in the business. In its first month, Bookshop brought in about $50,000 in revenue, and distributed a modest $10,000 to member bookstores. That number changed radically in March, when hundreds of bookstores shuttered their physical doors and signed up with Bookshop. Total sales are at about $4.5 million, with more than $870,000 of that going to stores, said Andy Hunter, Bookshop’s founder. The coronavirus pandemic has accelerated the die-off of America’s storefront retail at a frightening speed, forcing independent stores to close on short notice and deepening the advantage of online behemoths like Amazon and Walmart. But a few independent retailers have rapidly pivoted toward e-commerce, in some cases using strikingly low-tech analog systems to retaliate against Amazon, which itself went live as a small online retailer of books 25 years ago…”

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