Andy Hunter, founder of a new online sales outlet for independent booksellers, had seen a crisis building well before the coronavirus pandemic shut down many of the country’s stores.
“”Between 2015 and 2018, I saw this big jump in the percentage of weekly sales for physical books that were going to Amazon.com,” Hunter says. “And it seemed like independent bookstores needed to do something to adapt, because the writing was on the wall.”
In January, Hunter launched Bookshop.org, which offers everything from the new Hilary Mantel novel to such classics as Boccaccio’s “The Decameron,” and shares proceeds with independent stores. Hunter says weekly sales at first were around $30,000, but jumped to more than $450,000 by mid-March, as the virus spread and readers no longer could visit their favorite local stores.