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Guest Post & Giveaway: Supporting Independent Bookshops / Mark Thornton

We’re delighted to welcome to the blog Mark Thornton, Bookshop Partnership Manager at BookShop.Org.


You may have seen an increase in links from BooksForTopics to the website or you may have visited our BookShop Store Page. But who are they and why are we linking? We asked Mark Thornton to tell us a bit more about the site and how it works with affiliate partners like BooksForTopics to support independent bookshops.


Look for a special giveaway to win a £25 Gift Card at the end of the post, too.


Guest Post

from Mark Thornton, Bookshop Partnership Manager for (and former independent bookseller)


Back at the beginning of 2020 (remember that?) a website launched in the United States which had been a long time in the planning.

Andy Hunter, a long-time book-lover, entrepreneur and founder of publisher Electric Literature and literary website LitHub had been thinking about a way to support independent bookshops, the kinds of places he loved to spend time in, discover new writing – but which seemed to be under threat as never before by large, online retailers.

Other well-known online retailers had grown so big – at least in the world of books – not just by building slick websites, but by rewarding people who link to it. These links mean that publishers, authors, influencers (and sites like BooksForTopics) can earn much-needed affiliate revenue from sales of the books they love to recommend.

Andy thought: could you build a different sort of ecommerce website – one that would provide the ease and convenience everyone now expects (especially on mobile), provide an affiliate programme that was at least as good as other well-known online retailers – but that explicitly supported independent bookshops by having them benefit from every sale?


The result is – an ethical book-buying site that makes it easy and fun to share and recommend books whilst earning affiliate revenue. Developed together with indie bookshops, it launched in a low-key way at the start of 2020…and then the pandemic hit.


Suddenly, with indie bookshops closing their doors, became a lifeline.


As well as earning revenue on the books they sell themselves through, a portion of every other sale on the site goes into a shared pool – this pool is then split between all the bookshops on the platform. launched in the UK last November – and in little over a year has earned bookshops nearly £2m, with over 500 bookshops now on the platform. The breadth and scale of what independents do is astonishing. They work with local schools, support causes within their communities, and many are specialist children’s booksellers – whether it’s the award-winning Tales on Moon Lane in Ramsgate with its own Youtube channel or Barefoot on the Croft in the Scottish Highlands with its focus on Scottish culture in children’s books and illustration.

Independent bookshops are all different, they reflect their communities – and it’s this diversity and impact that helps support – and that you also help support when you buy books through BooksForTopics.


From every bookshop on – thank you!




Visit our BookShop.Org Store Page here.




***Gift Card Giveaway***


And to celebrate, the team at BookShop.Org has given us a £25 Gift Card to give away to one of our followers – perfectly timed for Christmas shopping or winter book browsing.

Simply retweet the giveaway post before 11.59pm Thursday 16th December 2021.




Many thanks to Mark for sharing this guest blog post with us.


Where next? > Visit our Reading for Pleasure Hub

> Browse our Topic Booklists

> View our printable year group booklists.

> See our Books of the Month.

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