Hive offers independent bookshops a raw deal

Heard of Hive, an independent on-line seller of books for independent bookshops?

Neither had I until I heard of them on You and Yours this lunchtime.

Apparently you buy on-line, get a book delivered to your home (for a fee) or pick it up at your local bookshop.

What is in it for your local bookshop?

As Simply Books said on You and Yours, not a lot, they get a small cut of the discounted price.

How are people to know of this service?

I guess through a notice in their local independent bookshop. But this would be like putting up a sign saying: Why buy from us full price when you can buy cheaper on-line?

If people are going to buy on-line, why buy from Hive (who they have never heard of and probably will never hear of) when they can and more likely will go direct to Amazon?

All Hive are doing is encouraging people to buy on-line, to get in the habit of buying on-line, not in their local bookshop.

The latest cookbook from Jamie Oliver was given as an example. This has an artificial cover price of £30 which no one bar a fool is going to pay.

– Waterstone’s £15
– WH Smith £15
– Sainsbury’s £9-99
– Hive £17-50 (plus shipping)
– Amazon £14 (free shipping)

All prices are walk in off the street prices bar Hive and Amazon.

Why would anyone buy Jamie’s Great Britain from Hive when they can get a better deal elsewhere?

The problem is the publishers offering heavily discounted prices to eveyone bar independent bookshops, but it does not have to be.

Aleph is currently on offer from independent bookshops at £10, ie one third off cover price. This is better than Waterstone’s who were offering £3 off and is now full price.

– Hive £9-79 (plus delivery)
– Amazon £7-50 (free delivery)

On their home page, Hive claim a recent review of Aleph. No, they simply regurgitate the blurb from HarperCollinsUK. That is not a review.

Independents are also offering the Paulo Coelho backlist at buy two get one free.

That this offer is available at all, is due to efforts by Paulo Coelho, myself and others, not due to a push from the independents.

Good news Paulo Coelho fans in independent bookshops

Hive is supposed to let you easily and quickly find your local independent bookstore, or so they claimed on You and Yours. If so, I do not know how. Maybe it is on their website, but if so not obvious as I did not see it, and I was looking.

There is an image where it asks click here to select your favourite bookshop. But when I did, it took me to a page where I was asked to sign in to check the status of my order!

The website is awful, slow, overbloated and image intense.

All Hive is doing is extracting the last drop of blood from failing bookstores who are so desperate they will clutch at straws.

Hive the online bookstore
Indies could earn 30% from books sold via Gardners’ Hive
Tangent One launches Hive – an online bookstore that supports the high street
Gardners Hive responds to feedback with indie offer
What’s gone wrong with our bookshops?
A quarter of independent bookshops lost in last five years

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2 Responses to “Hive offers independent bookshops a raw deal”

  1. Singapore Lynda Says:

    What a pointless and destructive article. I can’t shop in independent bookstores in the UK, but have to buy online. I’ve always been a heavy user of Amazon, but have recently begun to use hive in an attempt to be more ethical in my purchasing. I have had no problems with using their website, and have found their customer service team to be polite and helpful. You’ve just trashed that for me, and not given me any suggestions for alternatives. Oh well, I guess I’ll place my next order with Amazon.

  2. Hugh Edwards Says:

    Don’t use Amazon for anything, they are trying to take over the retail world & I will not comment on the treatment of their staff.

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