Bookindy Fights for Independent Bookstores

Caitlin Muchow ‘18/ Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer

Those who truly love reading know the feeling of walking into a bookstore and falling in love with all the beautiful stacks of books and all the possibilities they contain. However, even for those who love bookstores and want to support them, it’s becoming harder and harder to justify spending money there when it’s so painfully evident how much cheaper they might be to buy them from Amazon; and book addicts know that every dollar saved is a dollar to spend on another book. Well, the new Chrome extension, Bookindy, is coming to rescue book addicts from this eternal moral dilemma.

Bookindy is a free downloadable application that allows shoppers to browse the seemingly infinite contents of Amazon’s library but buy from their local independent bookstore, by changing the layout of the Amazon website slightly once downloaded. “If we are to buy from independent bookshops again, we’re not going to change our ways based on pangs of guilt or a sense of obligation. We demand something as convenient as Amazon. We demand something that gives us the choice of where to buy a book from with no extra effort. So with Bookindy you simply browse Amazon and get the local option to buy. It’s not competing head on, it’s about providing choice and a giving customers a gentle nudge,” said the founder of Bookindy, William Cookson, in an interview with TechCrunch.

The way the app works is by allowing shoppers to look at a specific book and see the usual prices, such as Kindle Edition and Paperback, as well as the price at their local bookstore. It also includes the distance to the bookstore and the option to visit the store or order the book online, so shoppers don’t even have to lose the convenience of having books sent to their home. The application currently supports hundreds of independent bookstores in the UK only, but they are working on updating the extension for the US and other countries.

Bookindy tells you how much a book costs at your local bookshop, and how far away it is, when you shop for books on Amazon. Source: Bookindy.

The app is powered by Hive, a website in the UK that proclaims on its website it is “where the two worlds of online purchasing and high street shopping collide. You love the ease and luxury of shopping online, but you don’t want to see the bricks and mortar shops on the high street disappear. With hive, every time you make a purchase you are supporting your local independent shop as well, just by continuing to do what you love – buying your books […] online.” Hive uses Google Maps to find independent shops in your area or the one of your choice, and every time you make a purchase on the site a percentage goes to that book shop. Another portion of the profits from your purchase also goes to Hive itself, and Bookindy gets a 5% cut of the profits from your purchase for the referral to Hive, which is used to run the Bookindy website and put out google ads.

Besides supporting all the charm of real life bookstores, buying from independent bookstores also supports publishers, especially smaller publishing companies, who rely heavily on bookstores. Hopefully, the extra option will bring shoppers some great deals that they wouldn’t have found on Amazon, but even if the price from their local bookstore is a little more expensive than price from Amazon, buyers can still support independent bookstore owners, their local community, and ultimately the culture of book buying with the same convenience that Amazon provides.

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