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It’s a new year and we’re here with a reminder to all Alberta authors, publishers, and book reviewers—if you don’t have the Shop Local button on your website yet, make it your resolution to get it up and running.
It’s free, SO easy, and we’re providing all the steps here to make it even easier.
What is the Shop Local button?
The Shop Local button is the first Canadian solution that lets you direct your website users to buy your book from their local independent bookstore’s website, rather than from Amazon, etc.
It was developed last year by Bookmanager—the book inventory and POS system software that most independent bookstores in Canada use, which was developed by the owners of one of Kelowna’s amazing indie bookstores, Mosaic Books.
If your website users’ local bookstore uses Bookmanager too, when they click your Shop Local button, they’ll be sent directly to your book on their bookstore’s website AND it will say whether your book is “forthcoming”, “in stock”, or “special order.” And if their store doesn’t use Bookmanager, it’s no problem, they’ll just be sent to the store’s homepage.
This may all be sounding like a big ask if you’re not super web savvy, especially since when Bookmanager first released the Shop Local button it was as a somewhat complex API scenario that we won’t bother getting into here (though you can still access that version if you want to get more advanced). But later on in 2021 they released a simple URL version that is SO easy to use that there are no more excuses (and we’ll show you how!)
So rather than using your website to front links to your books on Amazon (no need to line Jeff’s pockets any further), support your local community bookstore and indie booksellers everywhere by fronting the Shop Local button instead. And in case a reminder is in order, here’s why local bookstores deserve your support.
How do you use the Shop Local button? (It’s as easy as 1, 2, 3!)
1. Choose a button image to upload to your website.
We’ve included a bunch of button options. (To download them, right click over the image and select “Save Image As”. You’re welcome to use any of these.)
The classic choice is one of the Shop Local buttons created by CIBA (the Canadian Independent Booksellers Association):
Here’s the Shop Local button we use right here on Read Alberta. (If you’re into design you can make one that fits the aesthetics of your site, like we did):
Here’s a bright pink one!
Here’s an emotional plea!
(You get the idea—have fun with it.)
2. Create your URL.
Add the ISBN from your book to the end of this URL: https://shoplocal.bookmanager.com/isbn/
The ISBN, or International Standard Book Number, is the unique 13-digit number associated with your book that starts with 978. For example, here’s the ISBN for the new Bogart Creek cartoon collection: 9781989754108
The Shop Local URL for this book should end up looking like this: https://shoplocal.bookmanager.com/isbn/9781989754108
(If you don’t want to fool around with buttons at all, you can always just hyperlink some text too, like: Buy my book at your local independent bookstore!)
3. Post it to your website.
Insert the button image you chose into your website, and link it to your URL.
Here’s what that looks like on the back end of our website.
And here’s the final result!
The best part is, if you have any trouble, the folks at Bookmanager are always happy to help; just email them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
It feels great to be able to direct your website users to buy your book locally, and it’s also an excellent way to help make it worthwhile for local stores to keep your book in stock. So why not give this free tool a try?
Shop Local is a column all about supporting local, independent booksellers in Alberta.