Independent bookstores are in peril, and it’s time to help them.
Local stores provide so much more than a way to accomplish the task of buying a book. (That’s easy to do, anywhere online.) A good bookstore’s staff members are curators of ideas; they select books for their customers that resonate in their communities, that put forth bold ideas, that do something new outside the mainstream. Their physical spaces are a refuge, a museum, a social hub. It’s always more than a retail store. At McSweeney’s Publishing, we survive because of this vibrant network of thousands of stores and humans who believe, like we do, in ambitious new writing and in helping people discover it.
The recent crisis has revealed our world to be more fragile than we ever imagined. We can’t lose bookstores and their integral part in our culture. Our staff asked independent stores to tell us how we can help at the micro-local level. Here are their answers.
If you’re a store that would like to be included on this list, please email email@example.com with “Indie Support” in the subject line.
Publishers Weekly has a roundup of bookstore GoFundMe pages across the country.
Libro.fm is sending 100 percent of its proceeds to the indie bookstore of your choice. Use the code “shopbookstoresnow” at checkout to get two audiobooks for the price of one.
Support black-owned bookstores with a purchase or a contribution. There are many; here are a few of our favorites:
- Marcus Books Oakland, CA. Support their GoFundMe.
- Frugal Bookstore, Roxbury, MA
- Reparations Club, Los Angeles, CA
- Hakim’s Philadelphia Bookstore, Philadelphia, PA
- Sankofa Video, Books, and Café, Washington, DC.
- Semicolon Bookstore and Gallery, Chicago, IL
- The Lit. Bar, The Bronx, NY
- Sister’s Uptown Bookstore, NY, NY
- Mocha Books, Tulsa, OK
- Harriet’s Bookshop, Philadelphia, PA
- Harambee Books and Artwork, Alexandria, VA
- Café con Libros, Brooklyn, NY
- Loyalty Books, Washington DC.
- MahoganyBooks, Washington DC.
- Source Booksellers, Detroit, MI
Encourage Mayor London Breed to classify Bookstores as Cultural Institutions (and thus make them eligible for government help).
Author, McSweeney’s 59 contributor, and all-around great human being Charlie Jane Anders has organized a series of live-streamed author events to benefit Bay Area indie bookstores. Find more info here.
Donate to Oakland’s Marcus Book Stores, the oldest independent black bookstore in America.
Support the beautiful Point Reyes Books by ordering online. They’re offering curbside pick-up and $2.95 media mail shipping.
Adobe Books have launched a fundraiser to cover their expenses while closed. In honor of their 31 years in business, they are asking people to donate $31 in an attempt to raise $31,000 total.
Buy online from Oakland’s East Bay Booksellers ($1 media mail shipping on orders over $40).
Looking for comic books? Oakland’s Cape and Cowl has a full "online store.
Order online from SF’s Green Apple Books.
Bookshop Santa Cruz is taking orders to ship nationally, featuring gift-card both physical and electronic. They are also doing a fundraiser called Keep Kids Reading, asking customers to donate money to the store so they can buy books for students who otherwise do not have access, keeping their booksellers employed selecting titles and the books are distributed to local school districts when they distribute free or reduced lunches.
Recycle Bookstore in Campbell and San Jose is taking orders via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Purchase books online from Oakland’s Great Good Place for Books.
Oakland’s Spectator Books is fulfilling mail orders via email, over the phone between noon and five at 510-653-7300, or on Instagram, @spectatorbooks. They also have gift certificates and specially designed T-shirts for sale.
Support Santa Monica’s only independent bookstore, Angel City Books, via GoFundMe.
Order directly from Laguna Beach Books.
Order directly from LA’s Skylight Books (gift cards and memberships are also particularly appreciated).
California at large
Time Tested Books in Sacramento are taking orders by email or phone (916-447-5696) and offering free shipping where possible, and are happy to set up pick-up or delivery options for folks in the area.
Support Crested Butte’s Townie Books/Rumors Coffee and Tea House by donating to their GoFundMe.
The Bookworm in Edwards (the town with the third-highest per-capita rate of infection) is selling books (along with groceries and soup subscriptions) on their website, and has also launched a GoFundMe to donate directly.
Buy books, gift cards, toys, and more from Colorado Springs’ Poor Richard’s.
Copperfish Books in Punta Gorda is selling books and gift cards via their website or over the phone at 941-205-2560. They would love to send you recommendations or talk with you about books, via email at email@example.com.
Mojo Books in Tampa are selling gift certificates, rare books and records, and care packages (email them and let them know what you like and how much you’d like to spend), plus they have bookshop.org and libro.fm pages.
Order books online from Jacksonville’s Chamblin Bookmine.
Decatur’s Little Shop of Stories is selling children’s books online and doing home delivery to select zip codes in the ATL.
Uncharted Books is selling rare books, merch, gift cards, subscriptions, and orders on new books.
Buy books directly from RoscoeBooks.
Buy books and gift cards online from Bookie’s Bookstore.
Hello Hello Books in Rockland, Maine is selling books on their website, including a curated surprise book from the store’s owner and a Snail Mail Bundle featuring pre-stamped cards to send to solo housebound seniors and immunocompromised people.
Buy gift cards and books online from Farmington, Maine’s DDG Booksellers.
Order online from Portland, Maine’s Print: A Bookstore.
Kalamazoo’s Bookbug is operating online and encouraging orders and gift cards plus hosting virtual events.
Order online from Duluth’s Zenith Bookstore.
Book House in St. Louis is selling books on their website, and would very much love to hear from you if you wanted to send them wishlists or ask for recommendations. Email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or use that same address to donate directly to them on PayPal.
Asbury Book Co-op in Asbury Park, NJ is selling books online (and hand-delivering to locals), as well as gift certificates with bonus credit on their website. They’re accepting co-op membership and donations as well.
Buy books directly from Albuquerque’s Harvest Moon Books.
Buy a gift card from The Strand.
Book Revue on Long Island has moved their store online, where in addition to book standards, they are also offering rare titles and bundles of discounted surprise curated books.
Support Rockaway Beach’s Avoid the Day (opened a mere seven weeks before a Shelter in Place order went into effect) via their website.
Find a variety of ways to support Brooklyn and New Jersey’s WORD bookstores on their website (including book orders and direct PayPal links to booksellers).
Raleigh’s Quail Ridge Books is selling books, games, gift cards, and more.
Buy books directly from Oklahoma City’s Commonplace Books.
Eugene, OR’s Tsunami Books is taking donations to help pay rent via their website.
Buy online directly from Portland’s Powell’s Books. They’re offering free shipping on all orders over $25.
Order gift cards, books, audiobooks, puzzles, and games online from Phoenixville’s Reads & Company.
Support Philadelphia’s A Novel Idea by purchasing books and gift cards online, donate directly to their GoFundMe, visiting their bookshop.org, or preordering owner Christina Rosso’s new book She Is A Beast.
Pittsburgh’s City Books has a full list of ways to support, including a self-isolation care package, enrollment in a loyalty program, gift certificates, and more.
Wakefield Books in Wakefield, Rhode Island is offering online service. Customer service is available daily via phone at 401-792-0000, and they are also offering contactless curbside pick-up.
Memphis’ Burke’s Book Store, celebrating 145 years in business, is selling their books and merch online at www.burkesbooks.com. They are taking orders from the website, their Facebook page, email at email@example.com, or over the phone at 901-278-7484.
Ken Sanders Rare Books in Salt Lake City has a full online store. They are committed to keeping their full staff of payroll, so would greatly appreciate your support.
Buy online from Warrenton, VA’s The Open Book offering free home delivery to locals and $1.50 media mail shipping.
Lynchburg, VA’s Givens Books is selling books and more online.
Pegasus Book Exchange in West Seattle is working on getting their used inventory online, which you can browse here. Orders for used inventory, special orders of new books, and gift certificates can be purchased via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. They are offering contact-less local delivery. In addition, they have a bookshop.org site for new books here, and you can donate to all stores in their neighborhood here.
Seattle’s Elliott Bay Book Company is taking orders from their website.
DC’s Solid State Books is selling gift cards through their website.
Homeward Bound Books, who have used book kiosks across the state, have created a Patreon page to support them directly.
King’s Co-op Bookstore in Halifax has a full online store, and is offering free delivery to anyone in the Halifax Regional Municipality (by bike!).
Flying Books in Toronto is offering contactless delivery through their website.