The Brief

As bookstores disappear from the high street at an increasing rate, spontaneously unearthing new books is becoming more and more difficult. Instead, we’re fed recommendations from the software algorithms of the big online retailers. Our challenge was to burst this filter bubble and help readers of all ages reawaken their love of serendipitous book discovery.

The Insight

No matter how hard the online e-tailers try, they can’t escape a simple fact: nothing beats a personal recommendation from someone you know and trust. So, to burst the filter bubble, we wanted to put the human element back into discovery — serving up recommendations from real people in one, easily accessible place.

The Idea

We created My Independent Bookshop, a socially-enabled website that helps book-lovers discover new books through personal recommendations from other readers. It has a simple mission: to let you share the books you love now and discover the books you’ll love next. Every user sets up their own personalised bookshop and stocks it with their favourite books. In return, they gain membership of an exclusive community, gaining access to early editions, author events and other money-can’t-buy experiences. Book-lovers can browse each other’s shops and, once they’ve found a recommendation they like, buy the book directly from the shop through an e-commerce engine driven by Hive. In a clever twist, a percentage of every sale goes to support the user’s favourite real-life bookshop.

The Results

Launched at the London Book Fair, the site was described by the Guardian as ‘the most talked-about announcement of the fair’

Latest Results:
Over 86,000 visits
6800 sign-ups
3300 stores bookshops created - 48.53% conversion from sign-up
2450 checkout sessions (2.9%)
£8.72 average basket value, 1.2 books per person
Average overall dwell-time of 5 minutes - 9:05 mins for returning visitors


Digitals Shortlist


Project featured: on 10th December 2014

My Independent Bookshop