Bookshop.org, the online bookstore, has started what it is calling the Golden Bookmark Sweepstakes, which will award one person a $600 Bookshop.org gift card each year for life, as well as a one-time prize of $500 to donate to a bookstore of their choice. Five second place winners will each receive a $100 gift card.
The event, which draws its name from the Golden Ticket featured in Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, is being done to celebrate the two-year anniversary of the January 28, 2020 launch of Bookshop.org. “We wanted to celebrate with our fans and customers,” said Andy Hunter, Bookshop.org founder and CEO. “It’s also an affirmation that we plan to be around for a long time.”
Hunter said that total sales for the site in 2021 came to $54 million, including sales tax and shipping. The organization has just sent out $1.5 million in checks as part of its profit sharing pool. The checks went out to 1,380 stores. A store with one location got a payment of $1,097.69, one with two locations would get approximately $1,600. Over the two- year life of the company, Bookshop has distributed some $6 million to stores as a form of profit sharing.
“The sum is almost the same as the amount we sent out last year, after one year in business,” said Hunter, who noted that the checks for individual stores are a bit smaller as there are now more stores participating.
Hosting a store on Bookshop.org is not a requirement of receiving a check, though, as Hunter noted, of those getting checks, only 57 stores do not have Bookshop.org storefronts. [Any bricks-and-mortar store may sign up for profit sharing, so long as they are members of the American Booksellers Association]. In addition to the 1,323 bookstores participating, Bookshop.org now has 51,023 affiliates selling through the site.
Bookshop says that a significant amount of its post-tax profit in 2021 went to the Book Industry Charitable Foundation, including a $250,000 donation to Binc’s Survive to Thrive campaign. Other donations were made to CAAAV, Lambda Literary, The. Word: A Storytelling Sanctuary, Brave Space Alliance, Black Lives Matter, Color of Change, and the Marsha P. Johnson Institute.
Bookshop also distributed over $90,000 in donations from Penguin Random House to Black-owned bookstores across the country, and in November 2021, Bookshop.org and One World, an imprint of Random House, facilitated thousands of donations from Nikole Hannah-Jones’ The 1619 Project: A New Origin Story to schools and community organizations.
Hunter said for 2022 he is focused on refining Bookshop's customers experience and that a redesign of the site is forthcoming.