If you asked a group of people where they purchased their last book, chances are the majority of them would say Amazon. You might get a few people saying Barnes and Noble. But you will probably only get one or two who mention an independent bookstore. So what are some ways we can support indie bookstores so that they stick around alongside the bigger stores?
- The first one is obvious: Visit your local indie bookstore!
Next time you get the book browsing bug, head to your local bookstore and purchase a book (or two) there. Chances are the customer service will be more personal than the big name stores or scrolling through Amazon. I find that the people working at my local bookstore are WAY more knowledgeable about the things on their shelves than other bigger retailers. Ask for a recommendation and you might walk out of the doors with your new favorite book!
- Buy through independent bookstores online
Yes, Amazon can allow you to purchase a book from the comfort of your couch, but so do indie bookstores! If you don’t have a local bookstore to support, don’t worry. There are sites like IndieBound where you can find independent stores to support or sites like Bookshop.org who financially support indie bookshops with the money you use to purchase on their site.
- Participate in virtual or in person events
Support doesn’t have to mean financial support — we know that sometimes that is not an option. But you can still participate in author events and share their events on any social media you might have! When authors see that independent bookstores have a lot of events with pretty good turnouts, they are more likely to come and have an event as well. Also, sharing that an event is happening gets the word out about a local bookstore some of your friends may not be aware of.
- Engage with indie bookstores across social media
Follow your favorite independent bookstores on social media and sign up for their newsletters to keep up to date on events, book deals, and new arrivals. Also interact with hashtags like #AskABookseller where booksellers across the country are answering questions on book recommendations to questions on getting books stocked. Chances are if you ask, a bookseller will answer. This is also a great way to find indie bookstores to support who are interacting with customers online.
- Buy gift cards for the holidays
The holidays are fast approaching and we all have book lovers in our family! Find out what their favorite local bookstore is or their favorite indie bookstore and get a gift card for them this holiday season. As a book lover myself, I can tell you that a gift card to buy more books is exactly what I want.
It’s so important to keep independent bookstores running and there are so many ways to support them. Supporting small businesses is something that we don’t always think about, but can make all the difference for those stores. So let’s all do our part next time we buy a book!
Rachel helps our authors cultivate and establish their digital voice. She’s committed to thinking beyond packaged branding and works hand-in-hand with Books Forward authors to ensure authenticity in their online presence.
A quick learner and enthusiastic team player, Rachel continues to impress both our clients and team with her creativity, motivation and keen intuition. She is constantly finding innovative ways to promote our authors and their books.