Yes, all retail outlets are in trouble. For now, because this is the website of a publishing company, we’re going to focus on what we all can do for bookstores.
It’s more than you think.
Amazon is so backed up that they are not guaranteeing book delivery for upwards of 6 weeks.
Now more than ever, it helps bookstores, communities, and all humanity to buy books through your independent retailer.
It will be faster, and you will stave off a mass-extinction event for independent bookselling.
Things you can do:
1. Order books through your local store. In some states they are delivering directly. In other states you can actually pick up books from their location. Otherwise, all stores can deliver books to you through their distributors. In most cases it will be faster than Amazon. Many, many stores are offering free or reduced-price shipping to customers.
2. Buy gift cards. If you normally buy 10 books a year anyway, pre-paying now helps your store immeasurably. If 100 people spend $200 each, that’s $20,000. That matters a lot. That’s the difference between survival and your local store becoming a Jamba Juice or vape shop.
3. If you like audiobooks, buy them through libro.fm. They’re sending 100% of proceeds to the bookstore of your choice. That is a big deal. Use the code SHOPBOOKSTORESNOW and you’ll also get two audiobooks for the price of one.
4. Consider giving to the Bookseller Industry Charitable Fund. They provide grants to cover rent and food and healthcare for laid-off and furloughed bookstore staffers.
5. Bookshop.org just launched about a month ago as a new way for bookstores to sell directly to people online, via the store of their choice. In the wake of Covid-19 stores have really ramped things up, and many stores are using it to show off their staff picks, local bestsellers, and other features people love about an in-person bookstore experience.
6. A number of stores offer special subscriptions or patronage offers. This is a fun way to give stores some much needed cash, and you’ll reap the benefits for a long time. Examples include Books Are Magic’s Monthly Book Subscription, Green Apple’s Apple-a-Month Club, and EM Wolfman’s various support levels.
7. Many stores have also launched specific GoFundMe or other crowdfunding efforts to help get through this time. Our friends at Dog Eared Books have one going, for example.
8. Take part in virtual book events to support authors and stores.
9. Watch McSweeney’s email newsletter for regular, specific actions you can take in your communities to help independent stores in this time of need.