Recent start-up Bookshop.org has received a significant lift in recent weeks, as a number of independent bookstores have enrolled with them to create an online storefront quickly and easily. And the organization gives a lift to ABA member stores as well — stores that sign on as affiliates get 25 percent of any sales they generate (raised to 30 percent during the current crisis), plus they all share a pool of 10 percent of sales generated by Bookshop.org from other sources. Setting up a store is indeed quick and easy; we enrolled a non-bookstore affiliate and built these lists showcasing some new release books that need attention this week.
Less publicized at the moment but also enrolling a wave of new customers is Ingram’s Aerio service, where you can also sign up free and create an online bookstore in minutes. The back-end for Bookshop and Aerio is pretty much the same — in both cases, Ingram Content Group process the card transactions, picks and ships the books, and provides access to the broad catalog of works for sale. We created the same type of storefront showcasing those new release books at Aerio as well so you can compare. They call lists “collections” and you can see that each individual page is pretty similar to the look of the Bookshop lists.
Aerio’s economics are similar to Bookshop’s as well, though it works a little differently. They pay the Ingram wholesale price for each book, plus charge a platform fee of 15 percent, and a per book fee as well. It provides the store or seller a margin up approximately 30 percent, though that will vary from title to title. But Aerio can be used by anyone — author, publisher, bookseller, or book influencer of any kind — on the same terms. (Which means that for non-ABA booksellers in particular, it can be a more attractive quick option.)
Aerio does provide more options to the store: You can determine your own discounts, globally or title by title; you can create postable book widgets to put on your site or in your emails; as well as other features (capture emails, upload ebooks, and more). Both sites draw from Ingram’s big catalog of available books, though Aerio title pages sometimes include book “previews”.
As for sales reporting — always on the mind of authors and publishers — Bookshop says they do report sales directly to the NYT for their bestseller lists. They currently report all sales to NPD Bookscan through the ABA, but will begin directly reporting in April. Aerio will start reporting sales to NPD Bookscan beginning the week of April 5.
We know bookstores are being forced to close temporarily, and at least some publishers are having to suspend their warehouse operations at the same time. While both Bookshop and Aerio depend on continuing capabilities of Ingram’s book wholesaling and print-on-demand facilities, both services present options the entire publishing community can use to help promote and sell books as the whole supply chain is under stress. (We will not keep the money, if any, generated from these storefronts; we created them to showcase and promote new release books, and as samples for our readers. Any sales the stores happen to generate will be donated to BINC to support booksellers in need.)