Can you link to bookshops other than Bookshop.org and Amazon?
Yes, we will add more book-buying options as the website grows.
Creating links to books is very complex.
As of November 2022, Shepherd already has 35,000 books in our database. Managing links for that many books requires automation. The links to those books must be created programmatically, or we would never be able to manage the system (using ISBNs).
Due to some problems, we had to stop linking to Bookshop.org with ISBNs. Instead, we link to a search for the book and author name for now (more info here). Eventually, we will switch Bookshop.org links to be direct to the book, which requires a ton of money and resources to build and maintain. There is no good data source to know which ISBNs are for the USA and which for the UK, or which are active for a book and which are not. The data we get from our API provider and publishers is entirely broken.
For now, we link to Bookshop.org and Amazon.com for books because that covers a huge chunk of the world. As the website grows, I plan to add support for additional bookstores. Please email me if you have any suggestions. The main requirement is that they have some way to create and manage links to books programmatically.
Adding each bookstore is a big project and quite expensive, so for now, we only have these two until we reach profitability toward the end of 2023.
Do you want to help us build features like this faster?
I launched a membership program for founding members at the urging of authors and readers. 100% of the money goes toward developing new features and my goal of hiring a full-time developer in 2023 (currently, we only have one part-time developer).
Can you not link to Amazon or Bookshop.org?
For authors, Shepherd's mission is to help them sell more books, make marketing easier for them, and ultimately to create more full-time authors. I don't have the resources to take on that mission while also trying to take on Amazon (a trillion-dollar company). Amazon is the biggest online bookseller, and if authors want to sell books, they need to sell them on Amazon. Amazon is not behaving well, and I will do everything I can to pressure them (along with others in the book world). And that is also why I am promoting Bookshop.org above Amazon because I love that they give most of their profits back to independent bookstores.
You read a longer breakdown of my thoughts on Amazon here.
Currently, we always show a Bookshop.org button for books in our system. I hope to improve that functionality as we get further along, but that is just a big project to take on (more info here). We used to link directly to books on Bookshop.org, but that wasn't working much of the time due to ISBN and other complexity.