In this age of coronavirus, local consumption and all-digital, some readers have had to opt to buy books on the Internet. But, problem, as soon as you type in the title of a book or an author, Amazon is always found in the first sites offered. So how do you avoid going through the American giant, which – let us remember – before being the platform par excellence of retail was the first bookstore to go online in 1994? In addition to Amazon’s ubiquity, we have another problem: the segmentation of online book sales. So, how do you navigate this digital book jungle? Where to order? Which site to choose? We take stock.
One portal, two clicks
In France, there are now 3,400 bookstores, 1,200 including a website dedicated to selling books, according to figures from the Syndicat de la Librairie Française (SLF) which has 700 members. If they do not have individual sales sites, booksellers can use collective digital portals. There are three types: the national ones grouped by affinities (for example “Initials”, an online bookstore site), the regional ones (for example “Livre Nouvelle Aquitaine”) and those grouped by specialties (youth, comics, etc. .). Finally, you have the option of buying used books on specialized platforms.
In the midst of this fragmented market, the SLF created the site Independent bookstores in 2017. The “ national showcase “of the online book trade’s mission is to” federate booksellers », In the words of its delegate general, Guillaume Husson. This portal brings together ” more than 1,000 booksellers and 20 million books available “. Be careful, the search engine can be finicky. But, do not be discouraged, because it has the advantage of having one click visibility on the books available around you, where to pick them up, where to order them, whether they are home delivery, etc. The goal is to allow you to find the formula that suits you: go fast and pick it up within half an hour near you or order it and receive it at the office.
“Together, we have a larger stock than Amazon! “
When you click, this portal redirects you to the online sales site of the chosen bookstore, whether national or regional. ” We are not in competition », Explains Guillaume Husson. ” We don’t have a commercial objective. Our goal is to get booksellers to sell wherever they sell. Clearly, the leslibrairiesindépendantes.com site centralizes all digital book sales initiatives throughout France – even if it means adding to the mess.
On the Internet, the SLF shop steward concedes, for the moment, the operation is a little longer than on the Amazon site. ” But together we have more stock than the Amazon warehouses! », He argues. ” And in metropolitan areas, books are generally available more quickly, with a pedal stroke or a small detour from the desk. It’s a small effort for you that pays us big. ”
The collective play
However, to save yourself these two clicks (while playing it collectively), you can order directly on other national portals such as The Place des Libraires, The book store, Booksellers together, Booksellers or Initials. The number of libraries included in these networks varies. While La Librairie claims 2,500 member bookstores, La Place des libraires has 738 and Les Libraires is “only” 380. In contrast, Libraires ensemble or Initiales are much more modest with around fifty partners in their network.
Big or small, these regroupings were made with the viewpoint of ” pooling know-how and tools ” and not “To be isolated in your store “, As explained on the Booksellers Ensemble overview page. These five sites are merchant sites. They work like any other market place. At the time of purchase, you can therefore decide how to collect your order: delivery, collection in store or even in relay point.
Same principle for sites grouped by territories such as Independent bookstores in the Loire Valley, its counterpart at Nice or in New Aquitaine, but also Ile-de-France portals such as Librest, the collective of bookstores in eastern Paris, Bookstores-93 or Booksellers in the Seine.
Currently, the SLF, lists ten in all of France. A way of consuming local.
Buy a second hand
While on Amazon it is often possible to buy a used book, there are also “alternative” options for recycling enthusiasts and broke students. Quite surprisingly but rather conclusive, the option Vinted seduced us. Less numerous than clothes, books are nevertheless plethora of online wardrobe shelves – we have even found some rather rare nuggets. At private individuals who sell, you will also find books on The good corner.
More conventional, the site Book-rare-book, as the name suggests, sells over 4 million old, hard-to-find books. There are also used book resale sites like Recycle which collects free used books you want to get rid of. Despite his pageantry eco-friendly and solidarity, this last platform is not in the odor of sanctity among booksellers. In any case, the books are indeed cheaper there.
If you’re a keen comic book fan or have kids, you’re left with specific sales sites. For comics, you can order on the portal BD channel, which brings together several specialized bookstores and classifies the works in categories such as ” youth department “, the ” manga department “, the ” tips “Or the” strictly for adults “. You can also buy comics on the site Original comics, a platform managed by an eponymous Parisian bookstore which offers comics in original version or not, available for delivery or to pick up on site. Good plan: from 29 euros, delivery is billed to you at 1 cent. As for the children’s catalog, there is finally the site Witch bookstores entirely dedicated to children’s literature.
Whatever book you are looking for, rest assured, even without going through Amazon, you will be able to find it on the Internet, in a secure way, often quickly and near you.