We are in a sharing economy. Sharing economies, collaborative economies can create new opportunities in business and networking. Some entrepreneurs are building marketplaces where people can sell and exchange goods or services.
Sharetribe is a software platform developed by Finnish university friends, Juho Makkonen and Antti Virolainen. They began with the idea to help students sell old textbooks, find a tutor, or get help moving. But after years of development, Sharetribe offers useful features for a sales or marketing online platform. Sharetribe includes support for products, services, payments, categories and works on mobile devices.
A peer to peer marketplace is a different model than publishing a book or product on Amazon or one of the big online markets. When you publish on Amazon you give up control and the company sits between you and the customer. With a marketplace like Sharetribe, you the author have complete control over your setup and reports and fulfillment. You immediately see the Paypal or Stripe processing for each purchase. You are the vendor, customer service, shipping clerk. So there are advantages and disadvantages!
Over the last few months, I have wanted to move away from a total dependence on Amazon for my book selling. I am dissatisfied with aspects of the company’s relationship with authors, especially low selling independents, as well as negative feelings to what I hear about the company’s treatment of employees. In addition, I don’t feel the platform does anything to help the sales of my books. Yes, they have a massive number of customers, but those customers never see my books. I am lost in the sea of millions of books carried by Amazon.
All these concerns motivated me to search for alternatives to Amazon and the other big marketplaces. I found Sharetribe and setup a store on the supported website. The program starts with a 1 month free trial. I may switch to the opensource version if the project has the potential for success.
CoopBooks is a marketplace I have set up to market my books and invite other authors to place their books there also. Authors are responsible for setting up Paypal or Stripe to process payments and make delivery afterwards. I am only doing my ebooks at the present time, but physical books could also be sold. If you are a reader or an author check it out here: https://coop-books.sharetribe.com/