A few years back I had an idea that seemed as though it could be quite nice, a small personal project that I can do in my down time from work, something that may be fun and give me something to do on the darker evenings.
I’ve always had a pile of little projects floating around the Internet when something takes my interest, Tumblrs, Flickrs, WordPress and Blogger blogs, and lots of other little bitty info dumps. Lists, galleries, maps, all the techy things that took my interest at the time.
I also had what felt like a good domain and twitter account hanging around from what was going to be a collaborative project with others which just fizzled into nothing and the domain was at the stage of keep or let it go back into the ether.
Why not list and make a map of as many bookshops in the UK as you can and visit as many as you can?
Even though that is still at the core of everything I do it quickly got out of hand, and I mean really quickly.
One of my earliest twitter posts was seen and boosted by the wonderful Michael Rosen and suddenly I had several hundred people suggesting their favourite indie bookshop, and the rest as they say is history.
Some of the most recent stats from the project are these:
- averaging 800 hits a day on the blog
- averaging 300 clicks out to bookshops a day
- over 12000 followers on twitter
- tweets got over 1.5 million impressions in the last 28 days
- average of 2% tweet interaction (seemingly that’s good?)
- seven Patreons!
Overall the project feels successful and popular and is building more and more momentum daily, there was some project creep when those pesky independent publishers joined the party but it’s ok as most of them seem quite nice.
There is still so much more I want to do with the website, some plans for the future are:
- restart and expand the Browse a Bookshop feature
- restart and expand the Publisher Profile feature
- visit as many bookshops and publishers as I can to take pictures and talk for:
- a YouTube channel and podcast highlighting bookshops and publishers
What this project has also done has made me realise I needed to consolidate all my little bitty projects onto my personal blog Big Bearded Bookseller.
I love all the people I meet doing this and I’m having great fun, though at times it does feel like a lot of work it’s work that I’m still doing for me and if others get benefit from it that’s brilliant.