Due to the coronavirus pandemic and related lockdown, plenty of small businesses across the world are closing. Unfortunately, this likely also includes your favorite bookstore, especially if it’s an independent one. Thankfully, there are more than a few ways you can support your local bookstores, all while staying home and safe!
Order Books Online
The simplest way to help your favorite bookstore during the coronavirus pandemic? Order books online! Many bookstores have started taking online orders, even if they did not previously, while also providing curbside pickup. So, looking for something to read? Don’t head to Amazon! Order from your local bookstore. While Amazon can survive the loss of business, your favorite bookstore likely needs orders every week to stay afloat.
“We are community-oriented (both locally and with the book community at large) and with the libraries and schools closed we are making an effort to make it as easy as possible to get books from us,” said Steve Saladino, manager of Skylight Books, a Los Angeles independent bookstore. “We are offering free Media Mail rate shipping on all book orders. These orders can be placed on our website or over the phone. We are also providing curbside pick-up for orders or purchases over the phone.” Now, many other booksellers are following Skylight Books’ lead. Of course, there are other ways you can help your local bookstores as well…
Buy A Gift Card
Can’t show up to the bookstore or don’t need any new books at the moment? No problem! Another fantastic way to financially support a bookstore is to buy a gift card online. It’s a win-win: while the bookstore receives the money instantly, you have a gift card primed and ready for when you need your next book. If it’s during the quarantine, shop online, as outlined above. If you don’t need another new book until after lockdowns have been lifted, great! You’ll get to head into your favorite bookshop in person!
While this won’t apply to all local bookstores, many have expanded their inventories to also include merchandise. Whether it’s a cup with a Harry Potter reference or a shopping bag that can hold a massive stack of books, bookshops tend to have some great merchandise. Or just rock a t-shirt with their logo on it while working from home!
Sometimes it’s best to simply donate cash to your favorite store. Right now, many bookstores have links on their websites that lead to online relief funds set up to support businesses, pay rent, cover salaries, and the like. Meanwhile, the Book Industry Charitable Foundation is another proven charity you can donate to, if you’d like to help all independent bookstores at the same time. Also, libro.fm, a platform for audiobooks, is currently donating all of their revenue from new members to independent bookstores!
Of course, before donating the money, be aware of scams and check all information thoroughly. Call or write the bookstore if you need to confirm the data found online.