Use Chrome? Love books? You should have Bookindy already. Come on, hurry up.

So at the end of May I discovered (see: probably stumbled upon on Twitter and decided to claim it as my own discovery) something pretty awesome. It’s free, it’s going to help you, and it’s going to help your local independent book stores. (As long as you live in the UK – sorry!) Sounds great, right?

Unfortunately, not everyone is aware of how horrible Amazon is. I’ll admit I still buy things from Amazon when I don’t have much other option (needing next day delivery, something I can’t find in person, etc.), but refuse to buy my books from there – considering that most of my shopping is books, it’d be pretty terrible if I did. I’m not going to go into why Amazon is the devil, but you can find out for yourself here, here, and here (though that was a quick Google for links, I’m sure there are better articles out there about the issues at hand).

Not to mention… if we’re shopping on Amazon, we’re not supporting our local independent bookshops are we? And there lies the biggest problem – shopping online may be convenient and quick, but bookshops are hubs of the bookish community, they’re there for you to discover new books in, and for booksellers to recommend their favourites to you. I love bookshops, most people I know love bookshops, even the ones who don’t read all that much. Bookshops are the best. Bookshops bookshops bookshops.

So. How does all of this relate to each other? What’s this thing that can help? Well, let me tell you.

bookindy1
Some wonderful people have now created a plug in/extension for Chrome which, whenever you browse Amazon for books, will remind you that you can buy it at your local independent bookshop. It’s called Bookindy and it is awesome. It will tell you how many miles away your local indie is, it will tell you how much the book will cost (sometimes it’s cheaper, sometimes it’s not), and help you buy it online if you can’t get to to the shop itself.

bookindy2

It’ll even insert a little button right next to ‘hardcover’ and ‘paperback’ as another cheeky reminder that you could be doing something better for the publishing industry and independent bookshops than buying on Amazon!

If you can’t make it to your local bookshop, for whatever reason, it will also give you a link to Hive, its partner. Hive is a website where you can shop for books online via your local bookshop, so that they’ll get a portion of the sale, while it will still get delivered straight to your front door. Great, right?

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, eBooks, entertainment and stationery online. Happy days.

Hive have good deals on prices too, they work with over 360 local bookshops nationwide, and you can either have your order delivered to your bookshop or to your house, and I can’t think of anything more fantastic! You may have noticed that along with Amazon (grumble) and Book Depository, I also link to Hive on each of my reviews – and now you know why! You do hear people banging on about how dangerous the internet has become for the publishing industry, and for physical books and bookshops, but we can see by this example that that doesn’t have to be the case – the internet can help you connect with your local bookshop if it’s otherwise not possible. Excellent.bookindy3

As far as I can tell, Hive is UK only, and so is Bookindy so that’s a bit of a setback – but it’s a start. Perhaps they can expand in the future, or other bookish folks overseas will pick up the idea. The new prices they advertise are also the prices offered through their own website, which – while still supporting local business, doesn’t take into account the RRP that indie stores will probably be offering. Nonetheless, I often find that many new and popular books in my local shop have money off and deals on, so it’s worth popping in to have a look, right?

I’d be interested in seeing an addition to the app that will add a link to a Google Map giving you directions to your local bookshop, rather than just how many miles away it is. I can see that the idea is to drive people to buy from their website and bookshops simultaneously, and that may defeat the point a bit, but it would be a welcome feature.

There you have it, I do think you should run along and install this free Chrome extension Bookindy, so that next time you happen to be scrolling through Amazon looking at all the lovely books you’d like to buy (we all do it), you won’t accidentally end up giving them your money, and can support indie bookstores instead!

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29 thoughts on “Use Chrome? Love books? You should have Bookindy already. Come on, hurry up.

  1. Yes, Amazon is a horrible company. I do try to buy from my local store but sometimes it’s hard to avoid because I read quite a few obscure books that are typically in my local bookstore.

    1. I think the best thing is just to try and do as much as we can 🙂 and to spread the word about it! If a book’s in print you should be able to ask your local bookstore to order them in for you, which may even be easier than buying online if you have to dig around for obscure books too! I can only imagine antiquarian/second-hand/out of print books to be a problem there. I haven’t yet figured that one out!

  2. This is amazing. I stopped buying anything off of Amazon that I didn’t need to- aside from the issues with the publishing industry, I am extremely turned off by how their workers are treated. Publicizing the other options is a huge help- so many people forget that it’s actually not that much more difficult to go another route!

    1. I agree completely! If you can get it elsewhere it’s best to put in some extra effort if necessary. And let Amazon know why we’re angry about these things, so that they feel the pressure to improve their ways!

      1. Reading one article, Amazon kept emphasizing their relationship with the customers, and getting the customers the best bargain- and it irritated me because I would rather spend a bit extra on my products and know that the warehouse workers were not denied pay for time spent doing mandatory warehouse procedures, etc. — don’t even get me started on the bullying of the publishing industry, either!

      2. I feel the same way! Internet shopping is such a new thing when you think about how long we have been buying and consuming goods as a society. I am often frustrated by how we now use it as a crutch and so many people couldn’t bear the thought of going without Amazon! We survived without it, and in my opinion, should try to in order to avoid funding a company that thrives on the exploitation of its workers. I feel like as long as they’re getting cheap prices and don’t have to see the terrible working conditions, most people will gladly ignore the issues because they benefit from them 😦 sigh.

  3. As a college student, saving money to pay expensive college tuition is the way to go. I am eager to try Bookindy.com because I might receive a better savings on a novel to reduce tuition expenses and support local bookstores. Sounds like heaven to me! Thank you for the informational post.

    1. I definitely know all about saving money to pay for college! While I was at uni, studying English Lit and needing a LOT of books no less, I used Amazon quite a lot – sometimes for the prices, sometimes for the speedy delivery which my local bookshop couldn’t ensure, because there were rarely the books I needed in the library (or enough, because many of us were wanting to borrow them). I saved money, because I had to! Now that I don’t /need/ all of that, I can shop around, find deals elsewhere, and even spend a bit of extra money if I have to, to support bookshops 🙂

  4. Thank you for that blog, but the problem is, we have no book store around here. So I have to go to Amazon to get my books. and if I find one, they don’t have the books I want. It’s not easy here. It was, once, but since the book stores nearly all closed down, there is nothing else here around. Up to now, I don’t have a problem with them, only once, when amazon.au high-jacked me and I couldn’t buy any other books I wanted, only the books Australia was selling, and that are only half of the books amazon.com has. But they changed it without problem. so all good. 😀 🙂

    1. That’s a real shame Gigi! I wish everyone had the same access to physical bookshops as I do, I’m moving to London tomorrow and will be spoilt for choice – it doesn’t seem fair does it? I’m glad that Amazon can help you, I just wish there were a better option! There is Book Depository, unfortunately still owned by Amazon.com, but you might want to check it out – it delivers postage-free, worldwide, and you can often find the editions of books from other countries available to you 🙂 x

  5. Super idea, I agree. However if this marvel is only in the UK, that leaves us US readers drooling with envy. I wish you had added the bit about ‘UK only’ near the beginning. And local bookstores in the US often do not want to stock self-published books–however well written and edited. Known authors, from traditional publishers, are a safer bet. So that takes us back to Amazon–right?

    Most authors have websites where their books can be bought, so why don’t readers go to the authors’ sites and buy there. As an author of children’s books, I offer good discounts, autographs, and far cheaper postage. Yet rarely make a sale. People buy from Amazon because of the wide choice. Amazon also offers prices that are mostly cheaper–at least here in the US–due to their bulk buy deals with the BIG GUY publishers. Price DOES affect where many people buy.

    I did share this on Facebook, and my Pinterest Writing Board, but then I got to thinking, and wrote you this post.

    Books for Kids–Skype Author School Visits
    http://www.margotfinke.com

    1. Oh I’m sorry Margot, I’ll move that bit up to the top so I don’t unintentionally make anyone else jealous in future! I think it’s quite similar in the UK with self-published authors in bookshops, they may be more of a risk for booksellers to buy, especially as with traditionally published books they can sell them back if nobody buys them. Though if the US is anything like the UK, if the book has an ISBN number they will be able to order it in for you – most people over here don’t realise that you can ask a bookstore to stock one copy of a book for you to buy it. It helps them make a sale, and it helps you get the book! I’ve bought straight from the websites of self-published authors before though, and smaller indie presses, I found it a little bit more effort than Amazon – but not much! I do wish more people would do so, but you’re right – price does change things. In the past, while at university, my finances were in a state where I had to buy books to study from Amazon. Now, I’m not much better off, but would rather have less books and buy them at full price if it helps out bookshops. I don’t think everyone feels the same, but some do!
      Thank you for sharing Margot, and thank you for sharing your books with the world -I’ll definitely have a look as my niece is young and I’m always trying to buy her different books than the norm (though the classic children’s books I read when I was her age are great too!) x

  6. That’s interesting, but I live in a very rural area in Ireland. My nearest book store and library is a 25 minute car journey. The library is good but limited. The bookstore is snooty and unfriendly and do not make me feel comfortable browsing there, so I rarely go in. I love that I can instantly download ebooks from Amazon. If I had that facility from my local bookstore, I would definitely do that. Instead of complaining that Amazon steal their customers, why don’t they find a way to embrace this wonderful new technology, join the C21st, and give customers what they want? I love print books and still buy them, for most people that will never change, and giving a print book as a gift is a most popular choice of gift, but that doesn’t mean I have to choose one way or the other. Most readers are ‘hybrid’ readers these days, and bookshops need to understand and work with that. If I could go into my bookstore and download ebooks directly from them instead of Amazon, I would. So would many. So why can’t we?

    1. Hi Ali! It’s a real shame you don’t have a closer bookstore, and the one you do have isn’t very welcoming – that’s not my usual experience but I understand that not all booksellers will be friendly. It’s not very good for their business though is it? They should definitely be doing all they can to encourage more people to come! This app sends you to Hive, the website through which you can order books, either to a bookstore, or to your door. So you don’t /have/ to go there yourself if you don’t want to. Unfortunately, I’ve had a look and there are only two bookstores associated with this website and app are in Northern Ireland 😦

      I’ve had a few chats with my local booksellers, I’ve been going there my whole life and occasionally forget the time when I’m chatting to them – not all bookshops agree, but they’d love to become more digital and up to date. The last time I was there they discussed with me how much they’d love to install some screens to show blogs with reviews and YouTube/’BookTube’ videos, as a way of recommending books to customers that they themselves have not read. Brilliant idea! But expensive.

      Things have obviously changed a lot over the 40 years my local indie have been trading, and with the increase in internet sales they have to constantly be thinking of ways to encourage more customers through the door. When there are only a few people there with limited time I can see why they focus on physical books – that’s their specialty of course – but integration with things like ebooks is hopefully the next step.

      I agree that if they’re smart, bookshops will be finding new ways to get us what we want – and if for a lot of customers that’s ebooks, if they’re not proving that they’re missing out on a lot of custom. With independent bookshops being very isolated from each other I believe it’s going to be a while before this changes though, at least for everyone. And of course, there will always be those who are a bit snobby about ebooks. While I much prefer physical books to ebooks, if that’s my only option to read a good book I’ll take it. And let me tell you, I’m packing to move to London right now and wish I only liked ebooks so I could take all of my books with me! Bookshops do need to embrace that ebooks are a good thing, the fact that people are reading is the good thing, not how they’re doing it. I’d be interested in seeing how physical bookshops could offer ebook downloads, the technology involved, or perhaps emailing links to downloads? Hmm. And who knows, if they offered that with a walk-in service, customers might walk out with a physical book as well. At least for me it’s almost impossible to walk out of a bookshop without a new book!

      Oops, essay over! Thanks for commenting Ali 🙂

      1. Lol! It’s a fascinating subject we could discuss for hours! I agree that walking in to get my ebooks downloads would undoubtedly result in walking out with an armful of physical books as well! Probably most readers would, the lure is hard to resist. But they have to make us want to go there to get our downloads, that’s their issue. Eg we can order our food shopping online now but most of us still like to go to Tesco and buy it ourselves. Bookstores need to sell us the experience, not just books, these days. Sad but true. You came up with great ideas there, and I suspect the booksellers who innovate and have some entrepreneurial spirit will continue to build their businesses and thrive in these turbulent times of change.

  7. Reblogged this on Ana's Lair and commented:
    Originally reblogged by Chris The Story Reading Ape

    Probably not something that will be of much use to me here in Portugal but figure someone out there might want to give it a try 🙂

  8. Wow, this is brilliant. Hope it becomes available over here in the US. In our city, we have one independent bookstore left, that is it. All the rest have closed their doors. Now we must depend on Barnes and Noble and one used bookstore (which I adore). It’s such a shame.

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