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It’s Never Been More Important to Support Independent Bookstores. Here’s How
Sam Mellish/getty images

Bookstores are closed and Amazon is experiencing major delays, but that doesn’t mean you should hang up your reading glasses. It’s more important than ever to support your local independent bookstores, which are being hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic. Here are five ways to show your love during these weird and uncertain times.

1. Order (and Preorder) Books Online 

Many indie bookstores sell their goods on their websites, which is a no-brainer when it comes to supporting them. IndieBound and Bookshop are two more great resources for ordering books online from independent sellers. Heads up that this also applies to books that won’t be out for months. Think of it this way: You would’ve bought the upcoming Curtis Sittenfeld anyway, so why not buy it now when booksellers need the extra money?

2. Follow Your Favorite Bookstores on Social Media

And sign up for their newsletters, if they have them. If your favorite bookshop launches a GoFundMe or other crowdfunding campaign, chances are they’ll post about it to spread the word. If you know about money-raising efforts as they get off the ground, there’s a better chance you’ll be able to support local shops before it’s too late.

3. Buy Gift Cards

Whether you buy these for yourself and save them for later or give them as actual presents, gift cards are a fabulous way to put some money in the pockets of indie booksellers, fast. We don’t know about you, but we’d love to get one for our next birthday…

4. Donate to the Book Industry Charitable Foundation

The Book Industry Charitable Foundation (BINC) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit dedicated to assisting booksellers impacted by natural disasters, health problems, etc. If you’re financially able, give a one-time gift, or set up a recurring donation or automatic payroll deduction to back booksellers around the country.

5. Sign Up for Libro.fm

Libro.fm is an audiobook service that works directly with independent bookstores. When you sign up for a Libro account (it’s free), you can choose bookstores to buy audiobooks from. Libro then splits the profits with the bookstore you choose. You can either become a monthly member for $14.99 per month or buy audiobooks à la carte. Libro.fm has also raised more than $80,000 for bookstores through its #ShopBookstoreNow campaign, which returns 100 percent of the sale price or $15 for a subscriber credit on a selection of promotional titles.

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