How it works
Online bookselling has revolutionised the book business over the last 15 years, and while some of that change has been undoubtedly positive, unfortunately it’s also had some negative impacts - not least the pressure it’s put on local booksellers.
Local bookshops are really important, they’re not just nice places to visit or a great source of recommendation for the next book to read, they’re a vital part of local communities, working with schools, book groups and authors to promote literacy and reading. And a creative literate workforce is vital for the creative industries, like film, TV, video game development and design, all of which now contribute nearly as much as the finance sector does to our economies. However, because they’re small and often don’t have the resources, local booksellers have struggled to compete online. This has had a big impact on the sector - in the UK, over the last seven years, over 30% of local bookshops have closed, despite the fact that book sales in general have remained relatively stable. Which is why we’ve developed ooovre.
We believe that ooovre can be a better model for buying books online, one that marries the ease and convenience of buying online with the experience and personal service of a local bookshop. ooovre is a mixed online/offline e-commerce platform that allows people to buy new books online from local booksellers using 'click and collect' - i.e picking the book up in-store. Most booksellers can have almost any book you order through ooovre in store within 24-48 hours. They can also help you find the right edition, at a good price, and they're also a great source of recommendations if you want to buy more books.
The current version of ooovre.com is a prototype which lets people buy books from local booksellers right now. However, because it’s a prototype the functionality is limited, and we want to raise £30,000 to build a more fully-featured service with more powerful tools to help local booksellers reach larger audiences online.
The ooovre prototype is a simple matchmaking service that allows you to order any book from a local bookseller of your choice and then pick it up from their shop, often within 24-48 hours.
There are four simple steps to buying a book with ooovre.
You can use the search function on the front page to find the book you want, it also allows you to enter a postcode that helps us locate local bookstores that can get that book for you.
When you’ve found the book you want ooovre then lets you send an email to the bookseller requesting the book and price.
The bookseller will then get back in touch to confirm that they can get the book you want and with details of price. They may also ask you for some further details about the edition of the book you might want – sometimes they can find you a cheaper or more appropriate version.
Pick up the book from the local bookseller whenever it’s most convenient.
Planned FeaturesWe have big plans for oooovre - and if successfully funded we will use the proceeds (after shipping all your lovely rewards!) to build the following features. Hopefully some of you will agree to be testers and let us know what you think as we develop the ooovre platform.
One of the first features we want to build is a proper platform for book orders. The prototype simply requests a book by email - a great start - but if ooovre is as successful as we hope, we then want booksellers to be able to see all the incoming book sales in one place. They will be able to communicate with customers and help them get exactly the book they are after - then organise pick up.
Online Payment System
This one is self-explanatory - but a really useful feature in giving local bookstores access to the online book market. Book buyers will be able to pay for their book prior to coming in-store to pick it up.
Bookstore Profile Pages
This is one of the features we are most excited about! Every bookstore will have a profile page on ooovre.com, but this will be no simple listing page - it will be completely customisable. Booksellers will be able to upload imagery of their store, create collections of books they love and recommend, and genuinely make it their own. Who knows, perhaps their collection might be featured on ooovre’s homepage...
User Profiles & Collections
The book community is a rich and creative one - and long term we want to build community features into the platform for the benefit of all. As a first step to this we intend to offer readers the ability to have more than simply an ‘account’ to buy books - they can have their own profile too. They can curate and share collections of their favourite books, just like the bookstores. They will be able to rate and review the books they buy and the stores they visit - and we have even more planned if we get to our stretch goals.
Why we are doing this
There are three main reasons we’re doing this:
- We want to create a business that creates a better book buying experience - one that brings together the best of online and offline bookselling.
- We want to build a commercial model that helps support local booksellers, because we believe they’re an important part of local communities.
- We’re passionate about books - John’s a novelist and writer and we’re all big readers.
Who are we?
We’re all digital veterans, with experience working for start-ups, agencies and tech companies. We’ve worked together over a number of years on a range of different digital projects.
John is the founder - he’s a novelist, screenwriter and digital strategy director with over 15 years’ experience working in digital businesses, venture-funded startups and agencies. His first novel, Sea Otters Gambolling in the Wild, Wild Surf was published by Random House.
Victor is a Creative Director at Google Paris and a board advisor at Descomplica (Latin America’s largest venture-funded education start-up). Victor has 15 years’ digital experience at some of the world’s highest profile digital agencies where he’s won over 50 industry awards.
Ideas Made Digital
Ideas Made Digital are an experienced digital product, design and marketing team who’re passionate about using technology to change businesses. Their clients include Google, Guardian Labs and Red Bull. They’re responsible for product design, management and technical development.
We are building a digital product - we want to release features steadily, and respond to user feedback - so expect to see ooovre grow over time.
Rewards will be fulfilled by March 2016 - and the launch party is planned for April.
For those who have opted for experiences - we will contact you directly to organise the best times and dates to make these happen, but expect them to begin in February.
Digital Wallpaper Pack
A pack of beautiful wallpapers for mobile, tablet and desktop - featuring our ooovre book monsters. Show your support for local booksellers!
We have a wide array of apparel as rewards. There will be a selection of prints, colours and sizes - and versions for women, men and kids. Once these designs are finalised we will send out a survey to all backers to make a selection. There is also a limited edition unisex adults t-shirt - which will be a little special...
We will be producing a series of unlimited edition A2 prints - as well as a top secret limited edition version. A backer survey will be sent out to get you all involved, and let you choose the one you want to receive.
Adopt a Monster
After a consultation with our in-house monster maker - we will create a completely custom book monster based on your every whim. It will be featured on ooovre.com alongside your name/company name and a personalised message.
What happens if we beat our target?
Ooovre is a passion project for us - and we have lots of features we’d like to add, so if we manage to beat our target and get extra funding we certainly won’t rest on our laurels. We are asking our backer’s to help fund a platform which will be open to all - by buying physical rewards and experiences - so if we reach and breach our target we will look to add the following features...
- We will add American and Australian stores
- Does your country need ooovre? Let us know!
More community features
- Follow, favourite and chat functionality
- New profile types for authors and publishers
- Create groups and events (e.g. book clubs and fan meet ups)
More tools for book sellers
- Data Dashboard (e.g. what books are most popular where?)
- Integrate delivery - stores can choose to ship orders, and customers can have books delivered if they are unable to make it in-store.
More ways to curate, review and discover books
- Review and discussion features around individual books
- Shared book collections - and collections of collections - Libraries? :-)
- Recommendation engine - powered by ooovre readers.
More ways to access ooovre
- iOS and Android Apps to access the community and order books
- Book seller app to help manage incoming orders on the go
More benefits to using ooovre
- Loyalty scheme
Nominated for "Book-Tech Company of the Year"
Want to feature ooovre in your website or publication? Awesome! Get our press kit from ooovre.com.
Risks and challenges
The risks and challenges facing this project are more commercial than technical.
The Commercial Risks
There are two main commercial risks:
"Local booksellers don’t support the service"
We’ve worked with a small group of booksellers and publishing industry veterans who are all very enthusiastic, and while this doesn’t guarantee wider support, we have already been nominated for the Bookseller FutureBook Tech Award (UK trade magazine).
"We can’t reach a large enough book buying audience"
This is the biggest risk of any Internet business, and ooovre is no different. We know that ooovre will probably appeal most to book lovers as opposed to just occasional buyers so we intend to build a range of community features to keep them returning to the site.
The Technical Risks
We believe the technical and delivery risk is low. Like all digital builds there are some technical risks, however, the ooovre team all has around 15 years’ experience each of working on global digital projects with much bigger budgets and scope than the next phase of ooovre. In addition we’re developing ooovre using standard web technologies and frameworks - so again this should help mitigate any risk.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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