MORE THAN TEN CHRISTIAN BOOKSHOPS are now live with Hive, the initiative launched by mainstream wholesaler Gardners (discussed here earlier this year) to help bridge the gap between the online and the bricks & mortar shopping experience:
The Hive Network is a radical new concept bringing the benefits of local high street retailing to the ease and pleasure of buying your books and DVDs on the internet.
Whilst everyone enjoys supporting the local bookshops that enrich our environment and bring variety and personality into our high streets, the convenience, range and 24-hour access of shopping online is an activity that many of us enjoy and take great pleasure in. Yet, having goods delivered when we may not be around to receive them does sometimes have its drawbacks… and let’s face it; the high street wouldn’t be as exciting or as colourful without your local independent bookshops.
That’s where the Hive Network comes to the rescue!
For booksellers, the service offers a customisable homepage and a fully functional online shop serviced through their Gardners account, with customer orders and stock orders consolidated into single deliveries, reducing carbon footprint. Customers benefit from the convenience of online shopping with free delivery to the bookshop of their choice for collection at a time that suits them, free home delivery for orders over £15, or 75p for home delivery on smaller orders. The project claims to be “the future of high street shopping on the internet… and internet shopping on your high street!” — the only thing that’s needed to change that from wishful thinking to reality, gentle reader, is you and me; and remember that it’s not just Christian books you can order from your chosen hive-linked bookshop: Gardners’ full range of fiction and non-fiction, including ebooks, is available!
The Christian retailers I’m aware of that have signed up so far are listed below: click through to visit their hive shops. If none of them are in your area, you can use the store locator to find your nearest participating shop; and if your local Christian bookshop isn’t there, why not pop in and encourage them to sign up?
- Amazing Grace, Wellingborough
- Ards Evangelical Bookshop, Newtownards
- The Bible Bookshop, Hanley
- Christian Literature Centre, Plymouth
- Cornerstone Books & Gifts, Ulverston
- Cornerstone Bookshop, Edinburgh
- Cornerstone Christian Bookshop, North Finchley
- Ely Cathedral Shop, Ely
- GLO Bookshop, Motherwell
- Keith Jones Christian Bookshop, Bournemouth
- Oswestry Christian Bookshop, Oswestry
- Unicorn Tree Books & Crafts, Lincoln
Some have customised their homepages — the best examples I’ve seen so far are GLO and Unicorn Tree Books (UTB) — whilst others have yet to take advantage of this option, which leaves them particularly vulnerable to the potential for embarrassment that fuelled our earlier discussions. If you’re a bookseller reading this who hasn’t customised your home page, I’d encourage you to take a look the GLO and UTB pages to see how it can be done — then go and do likewise!