Hashtag Trending – Book sales are exciting again; Influencer marketing; Superspreader database

A revolutionary way to sell books catches people’s attention online, influencer marketing budgets are projected to double by 2022, and a new global database helps identity COVID-19 superspreader events

It’s all the tech news that’s popular right now. Welcome to Hashtag Trending! It’s Tuesday, November 3, and I’m your host Baneet Braich.


‘This is revolutionary’: new online bookshop unites indies to rival Amazon from technology

Good news for book lovers out there. Experts are calling a new purchasing method suddenly made popular by Bookshop.org “revolutionary.” Bookshop.org allows independent bookshops to create their own virtual shop online. The stores also receive full profit margin from each sale. All customer service and shipping are handled also by Bookshop and its partners allowing deliveries within 2-3 days. Andy Hunter, the founder of Literary Hub, launched Bookshop in January and says Covid-19 caused a huge surge in sales. The platform started with 250 bookshops and now more than 900 stores have signed up in the U.S. Hunter attributes the success for their love of local bookstores. “Bookstores have been in trouble for a while because of Amazon’s growth, but this pandemic has really accelerated it. Amazon has gotten much more powerful, while there are 100-year-old stores that are hanging on for survival,” he said. Bookshop will launch plans for the U.K. but no word on Canada just yet.



Computer-generated virtual influencers may lack blood and bones but experts say they have potential. Companies like Calvin Klein and Prada, for example, are using them more frequently. According to Business Insider Intelligence, as much as $15 billion will be spent on influencer marketing by 2022, which is almost double of the 2019 budget. Bloomberg also reports that an increasing share will go to the creators of virtual influencers. Actual influencers are also launching their own live shopping channels like those in China where they sell products live on video. Now the tech giants like Google, Amazon, and seeking their own methods to do the same by hiring influencers to host live shopping. As one professor told the Verge, “This live shopping with influencers, it’s basically like you’re shopping with a friend or somebody that you really aspire to be like.” [LinkedIn post]


Where are people getting COVID-19? A new global database by the Toronto Star provides some answers. Some of the top identified superspreaders have been a meat processing plant that led to 1,500 cases in Alberta, a Vaughan wedding linked to nearly 50 cases, nursing homes, and bars and restaurants where 44 per cent of cases have been linked to eating out in Toronto. Users can type a keyword into the portal, like ‘gym’ and then shown all the cases that can be traced back to a gym. [Twitter thread]

That’s all the tech news that’s trending right now. Hashtag Trending is a part of the ITWC Podcast network. Add us to your Alexa Flash Briefing or your Google Home daily briefing. I’m Baneet Braich, thanks for listening

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