A recent search through Kickstarter’s literary underbelly turned up a project called ooovre, which promises readers a way to “buy books online from local bookstores”. We thought it sounded interesting, and we thought you might too. Here’s an interview with the project’s founder John Bennett.

Why did you found ooovre?

We founded ooovre because we love books and local bookshops, we believe they’re a vital part of a diverse and plural culture, and we want them to be around in 20 years time.

Can you briefly sum up the basic idea?
At the moment ooovre is what in the start-up business would be called an MVP – it allow users to find and order books from local bookshops using a simple email form – we intend to build a fully functioning back end to this if we raise the money.

Why did you decide to raise funds on Kickstarter rather than go the traditional start-up route?

Traditional start-up wouldn’t work for ooovre because the addressable market isn’t big enough – ooovre is really targeted at 10-20% of real ‘book lovers’, rather than casual buyers. Of course it may appeal to that market over time, but it’s difficult to build a business case that would interest a VC. Also, VC money comes with strings attached, we want to be able to do what’s right for booksellers, not investors.

What makes it different from sites like Hive?

We’re different from Hive because we charge no money for referrals and we don’t sell direct to door. In addition we want local booksellers to become much more involved in the business as soon as possible – it exists to support them, ideally they will have a major stake in the business and will be able to direct how it evolves.

Anything else you’d like to add?

We believe that the race is now on for ‘omni-channel‘ retail in the book business – the question is who gets there first – big online retailers moving into the High Street or local bookshops moving into digital. We believe that the best hope local bookshops have is through collective action. Irrespective of whether or not ooovre is the answer we believe that local booksellers have to something, the clock is ticking now.

Kickstarter page here: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/980363115/ooovre-a-better-way-to-buy-books-online

Article by John Bennett about the future of ooovre here: https://medium.com/@johnnybennett/the-future-of-ooovre-b308e55fe227