Even some of the digitally disrupted book world’s beneficiaries seem to see some value still in print book sales. According to reports in The Bookseller and elsewhere, Kieron Smith, former MD of highly successful worldwide online book retailer The Book Depository, which was recently sold to Amazon, is now taking a more artisanale approach to online bookselling with the announcement of his new venture, BestLittleBookshop.com.
At present, the website consists of little more than a signup window for interested potential customers, and another link for publishers interested in selling their books over the site. However, the reports add more detail from Smith’s statements at the UK Independent Publishers Guild conference. Best Little Bookshop will specialize in rarer and harder to find books, with a focus on curation and personal selection rather than algorithms. Publishers will be able to set up their own profiles on the website, which will launch in Arabic, French and German as well as English. It will also sell print books only, with Smith maintaining that readers are not yet ready to give up on print.
Whether the Best Little Bookshop can ever be more than a personal platform or a specialist niche play remains to be seen. However, some book trade veterans obviously believe that such ventures can still survive, if not thrive. And Smith has certainly picked up a prime web address for his new platform.