Friends and compatriots—

Amazon doesn’t need your money.

Small bookstores, and independent businesses generally, do. Good god, they do, more than ever they do. Given we’ve just averted an electoral apocalypse, let’s celebrate by supporting local businesses, starting with independent bookstores.

Most indie bookstores are open these days. You can go there, shop, give them your money. They will accept your money. You can buy books, gift certificates, calendars, sudoku workbooks, anything. Some of them sell stuffed animals. Puzzles. Cookbooks. Spend your money there, and by doing so, you can help save a store or two in your town or city.

During the pandemic, thousands of local businesses have closed permanently, while Amazon’s revenue has skyrocketed by billions. Now that we can breathe easy with a sane administration entering the White House, we can turn our attention to leveling the retail playing field a bit.

Some ideas:

  • Buy books and gift certificates from your local bookstore. You could do it today, and you’d be finished with most of your holiday shopping. That would feel good. You can even do it online. Ten gift certificates and you’re done, and the bookstore is saved. You can do this.
  • Shopping for a foodie? Gift certificates from local restaurants. We checked, and your local restaurants will also take your money. People like gift certificates to their local restaurants. It means they eat good food for free. You can even get these online. Give your loved ones free food.
  • Want something specific or even one-of-a-kind? Hit up your local oddball store or boutique. They have told us they, too, are accepting money from people like you.

In conclusion: Yes, Amazon makes things easy, and because in many states Amazon pays no taxes, in some cases it makes the stuff they sell cheaper, too. But please, take a second to look at the innumerable empty storefronts around you. The dual forces of an incompetent administration and an insatiable online retailer have conspired to crush too many small businesses. A third round of much-needed stimulus funds doesn’t seem to be in the cards for 2020, which could mean another cascade of business closings.

But we all have the power to save small retailers this holiday season. If you’re spending $500 on gifts this season, don’t give it to Amazon. There is no worldly purpose in doing so. They will be fine without your money. It looks like this pandemic will be manageable by April, and these businesses just need to get a boost these next few months to make it around the corner to spring.

Take an extra second and spend it locally. Help your communities stay vibrant.

It’s so easy to do this, friends. Small businesses and their employees — your neighbors, after all — will thank you.