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    RuPaul has launched an online bookshop that will share its profits with writers.

    Emily Temple

    March 4, 2024, 11:45am

    There’s a new online bookstore in town—and this time it’s helmed by RuPaul. Yes, that RuPaul. (Reading being, after all, fundamental.) Allstora, announced today*, is a membership-based bookstore that offers a profit-split to authors.

    RuPaul serves as Allstora’s Chief Creative Officer and co-founder, alongside bestselling author Eric Cervini and his partner, drag performer and actor Adam Powell, and will also run a book club through the platform, to share “the books that helped him become the world’s most legendary queen.”

    While you can buy any traditionally distributed book on Allstora, as you might expect, the store has “a focus on uplifting the voices of underrepresented groups, including LGBTQ+ people, women, and communities of color.” Membership costs $5 a month, and entitles shoppers to a 30% discount.

    Authors of books sold on Allstora can sign up for the Allstora Author Program, which pays out a 10% commission (in monthly direct payments) on every book sold—in addition to whatever profit they might earn through regular channels (for those published traditionally who have not earned out, that would be $0).

    “We all benefit from stories that give us a different perspective or take us to another world,” said RuPaul in a press release. “Creatives—whether drag queens, philosophers or authors—are driving our culture forward, and should be properly compensated for their work. I’m passionate about uplifting the voices of underrepresented groups, and I’m proud of what Allstora offers to both authors and readers: a community.”

    Allstora will also be sending a Rainbow Book Bus across the country to distribute books to communities across the country that have been affected by queer book censorship. (Book Buses are so hot right now.)

    While it’s always good to see more promotion and visibility (and money) for underrepresented authors, I do wonder what the bookselling community will make of this venture—after all, the 10% kickback might be a strong incentive for authors to direct readers to buy their titles from Allstora, and while the reported aim is to chip away at “another retailer whose name rhymes with ‘Glamazon’,” it could also, at scale, be bad news for some brick and mortar bookstores. Hopefully, though, books will remain cool and there will be enough sales to go around.

    *Not coincidentally, RuPaul’s memoir, The House of Hidden Meanings, comes out tomorrow (and is 50% off on Allstora).

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