How to support bricks & mortar bookshops with IndieBound links

As is the case with most children’s authors, my books sales are predominantly in print, with many being at school events. But I’ve also sold very respectable numbers (running into the 100s) in local bricks and mortar stores, including several branches of Waterstones in southwest London, and smaller independent bookshops such as The Barnes Bookshop (I’ve sold more than 100 here), Sheen Bookshop, Wimbledon Books and The Notting Hill Bookshop.

Image of 5 bookshop windows

Some local bookshops that stock my books…

Supporting bookshop stockists with links and mentions

Until now I’ve made an effort to promote my bricks and mortar bookshops stockists by including mentions and website links in relevant book page blog posts or ‘How to order’ paragraphs. However, I’ve long been conscious that plastered down the right-hand side of every page have been book thumbnails that link out only to Amazon.

Adding sidebar links to IndieBound search pages

IndieBound logo

Connects readers with local bookshops

Spurred on after the camaraderie of this weekend’s Barnes Children’s Literature Festival — where my book sales passed through The Barnes Bookshop – and by the launch of the Alliance of Independent Authors’ fantastic and inspired #Authors4Bookstores campaign, I have finally put extra sidebar links in place to enable UK and US readers coming to my site to order my books locally if they prefer. Below I share how I did this to save you time if you have a WordPress site and aren’t sure where to start or, like me, don’t really understand HTML beyond the basics 🙂

Since it’s a well-know fact that web users are in a hurry I wanted the links to sit in context close to each book jacket, and not to confuse matters by adding any extra logos. However, you can of course also use the IndieBound logo above in a generic spot on your blog or website and link to the relevant UK or US search page from it. I plan to do this.

Following this route presupposes that bookshops can order your book in. I own my ISBNs and my distributor is Lightning Source, which supplies the main book wholesalers in the UK, USA and beyond. The wholesalers in turn supply the bricks and mortar bookshops who can see and order my books in their systems. If you have an ISBN that you own and are with Lightning Source or Ingram Spark I believe that most US/UK bookshops located through IndieBound should be able to order your book.

Steps to add sidebar text links to Indiebound

The HTML coding provided below will, I am sure, work for any site. The process I describe is for WordPress blogs ( I use the free one).

1/ In the dashboard choose Appearance > Widgets

2/ Select the ‘Text’ widget and drag it to the area on the page you want it to appear (I use the Primary Widget Area on the right hand side)

Image of Widgets inside WordPress Dashboard

Drag the text widget to your preferred area

3/ Click on the ‘Text’ tab in its new location to open it up (see screenshot below) and then:

  • add the title of your book in the first text field
  • type the code shown in the screenshot below* into the next larger field – or you can of course save yourself time by looking out the IndieBound URL and pasting that in. [I tried to include all of the coding as body text to enable you to select and copy/paste it, but WordPress stripped it out!]
  • (optional) edit the text the reader will see if necessary (eg instead of ‘UK Bookshops’ it could say ‘Order from you local UK bookshop’. I had this to start with, but felt it was taking up too much room).
  • *note that the last part of the coding shows how I have also provided contextual links to Amazon and Barnes & Noble – this is for info only and for you to omit or adapt for your own book as necessary.

The Secret Lake text widget (2nd one down)

Image of text widget & example coding in WordPress

Adding code & links to with the text widget

  • The above coding translates into this at the front end:Screen Shot 2015-04-28 at 13.26.54If you have inserted a picture below in the widget area, the overall look is as below and as seen on the right-hand side of this blog page. (I choose to add a ‘Buy from Amazon’ caption on each image and this goes to the relevant Amazon page based on the reader’s location). While I still feel a little bad adding the Amazon link, the reality is that many customers will be looking for this – and I’m in business just like everyone else is to sell books  – so it feels madness not to provide it!Image of The Secret Lake book cover and links to where to buy it

Top Tip: Once you’ve tested the coding, copy and paste it all into a Word document to use or edit in the future if you need to change anything.

Read more about the Author4Bookstores Campaign here

About kareninglis

Writer of children's fiction. Copywriter and web content strategist.
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4 Responses to How to support bricks & mortar bookshops with IndieBound links

  1. Debbie Young says:

    Thanks so much for this thorough and helpful post, Karen. I’m going to adapt it for my book blog and rather than use it on every book review, put a link in the sidebar for people to find their local stockists.

  2. specterpoet says:

    Now that I’m getting more serious about my own self-publishing–and about a children’s series I’m working on–I’m definitely going to have to give this a look. My family used to own a bookstore in Wisconsin, and sometimes people would order an indie book through us. I’ve been wanting to do the same with my own, so thanks for sharing!

    Also, I loved both of your IndieReCon presentations. Great tips!

    • kareninglis says:

      Glad the post is useful – I had been meaning to get to this for ages! And many thanks for your kind words about the IndieReCon presentations – I’m glad you enjoyed them 🙂 For anyone reading here you can see them on my YouTube channel here – there’s one on self-publishing picture books and another is a software demo :

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