Buy a Book, Save an Indie Shop

You’ve binge-watched Tiger King and cleaned out the shed. Now what?

Books. We need books. And with Amazon focusing on delivering essential goods for at least the next six weeks, this is the perfect time to help save indie bookstores, explains Dave Eggers in McSweeney’s.

“If there were ever a time to take a few extra moments to order through your local bookstore, it’s now,” Eggers writes. “Admittedly, all retail is and will be under unimaginable strain in the coming months, but bookstores are one category where, with owner ingenuity and community spirit, survival might be possible.”

Local shops are getting creative in their delivery methods, from taking credit cards over the phone and putting books outside for pick-up, to direct shipping with no need to leave the house. It’s possible … and it’s really important that we do what we can to support these treasures in our communities.

It’s important to remember that for indie shops, it’s not just the book sales that bring in revenue. As Elaine Petrocelli of Book Passage in the Bay Area notes, her two shops rely on events, classes and other revenue-generating activities to stay afloat in “normal” times. And these are far from normal times.

“Audiobooks are a godsend right now,” Petrocelli says. “That’s immediate cash for us.”

That’s thanks to, a portal that’s currently giving 100 percent of every purchase to the bookstore of your choice. And of course, Eggers reminds us, there’s always the gift card.

“If you normally buy ten books a year, prepaying for them now gives your local bookstore cash now,” he writes. “That $200, multiplied by a hundred customers, might mean the difference between that store still existing after the apocalypse, or becoming a vape shop or Jamba Juice.”

We’ve all got a long way to go with this thing and, federal aid programs aside, small business owners need our continued patronage. So call your local shop and place an order. Buy a gift card. And use for your audio books. Every single sale helps an indie keep the lights on.