We’ve built ooovre to help local booksellers get a better deal out of selling books online.
Local booksellers have often struggled to sell online and compete with the big online retailers. This has put a lot of pressure on the industry - in the UK over 30% of local bookshops have closed in the last 5 years.
We believe that booksellers are really important, they do much more than just sell books - they’re an vital part of the community, working with schools, book groups and authors to promote literacy and reading. Which in turn helps contribute to the wider economy.
- Neil Gaiman, American Gods
We want to build ooovre into an alternative way of buying books online that allows local booksellers reach a wider audience than they may have been able to on their own.
Ooovre, is a passion project for us. Its something we’ve done in our spare time after we’ve done out day jobs and put the kids to bed. We’re all passionate about books and local bookshops, and John’s a novelist.
To ensure we always deliver against these aims and don’t become part of the problem we’re trying to solve, we make the following guarantees.
The prototype version of ooovre charges local booksellers nothing for the traffic we send them. However, ooovre is a business and in the future we will charge for use of the service, but that will be invested back into tools and service that in turn help local booksellers reach even larger audiences. (For more details on how we intend to do this, see our FAQ.)
We will set up a non-executive board that will contain local booksellers, as well as representatives from all parts of the book industry, including readers, to ensure we deliver against these guarantees.
We currently make no profits, however, when we do, we guarantee to invest 5% of any profits after tax and deductions into new writing and writers - by way of prizes, bursaries or commissions.
And we won’t do any form of business with anyone who doesn’t support those aims and who doesn’t support local booksellers.
Obviously, we can’t cover every eventuality in these guarantees, and as the business evolves we’re going to have make a range of commercial decisions that not everyone in the industry will agree with. However, this business exists because we believe in the importance of local booksellers, and the bottom line is that if ooovre doesn’t do that, local booksellers won’t use the service, and there will be no business.
Of course ooovre isn’t a panacea, we’re not pretending that we’re some kind of saviour for local bookshops – which face a range of different challenges, not just competition from online booksellers. But we do believe that with the right support we can build something that helps local booksellers access new markets and grow their businesses. And if we do that, we believe that this will go some way at least to helping ensure their long-term commercial viability.
So if you care about books, writing or booksellers, then please get involved, buy your next batch of books through ooovre and when you pick them up from your local bookseller - say hello, they’re a (mostly) friendly bunch who know loads about books and are great at making recommendations and helping find gifts.
If you think you might be able to help us, then drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
And of course you can always Tweet about us, follow us on Instagram or say something nice on Facebook.
Finally, this is an experiment, and we’re not exactly sure where it will take us, but it would be great if you could help us along the way.