How to Support Indie Bookstores Online

Let us introduce Bookshop.org, Libro.fm, and IndieBound.org.

Book lovers have always been fans of indie bookstores. However, with hundreds of websites at our fingertips selling books, more often than not people are buying books online. It’s hard to say no when a new book is just a click away!

*At the time of writing, some local bookstores closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Book purchases have gone online because people are stuck at home. Make sure to see what your neighborhood bookstore is doing online during this time.

For those of us tempted by online, spur of the moment book purchases, we can still support our local shops. What’s more, if you don’t have the pleasure of having a local shop in your area, you can support local shops all across the country.

Supporting local bookstores supports local businesses, which strengthens local economies. Local bookstores also support the community by providing resources, such as author readings and events.

So, if you can’t support your bookstore in person, here are three websites dedicated to putting money back in the hands of indie bookstores.

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Bookshop.org

The truth is local bookstores are essential to every community. Indie bookstores connect readers to authors, get people hooked on reading, and provide foot traffic to many downtown areas. Bookshop.org is an online bookstore dedicated to supporting local indie bookstores.

Bookshop supports local stores in two different ways. Through Bookshop.org, you can search for your local shop, then buy directly from that shop’s website. This means that 100% of your purchase goes to your local shop.

If you don’t have a local store, or it doesn’t have online shopping, you can still support indie bookstores through bookshop.org. Bookshop puts 10% of every purchase in their “earnings pool.” The pool is distributed evenly to independent bookstores across the country, even those that don’t use bookshop.org.

As of this August 2020, Bookshop.org has raised more than 6 million dollars for local bookstores! So, if you want new books, but can’t shop local, shop on bookshop.org. You’ll be helping communities all across the country.

Libro.fm

Buying books isn’t always about having a physical copy. Audiobooks are a great way to read while doing other things. So, why can’t audiobooks help indie bookstores? Thanks to Libro.fm, they can.

Libro.fm partners with bookstores to provide users with over 150,000 audiobooks. As a customer, this means when you purchase an audiobook from Libro.fm, you purchase it through your local shop. If you don’t have a local shop, you can choose an indie bookstore anywhere in the country to support.*

*Editor example: I choose to support an indie bookshop in Chicago because I am friends with the owner, even though I don’t live there.

While Libro.fm doesn’t have as large a selection as Amazon-run Audible, the local support aspect of Libro offsets the smaller selection. However, Libro.fm does work in a similar fashion. You can choose a subscription for monthly credits to exchange for audiobooks, or you can buy them a la carte. Either way, your money stays local.

Libro.fm also offers book recommendations based on your local store – because we all know our local store knows our reading habits better than we do. There are also author readings, playlists, and audiobook clubs available.

IndieBound

The American Booksellers Association created IndieBound.org as a place where we can see how local bookstores impact our communities. IndieBound allows you to search for your local stores, as well as buy books to help support them.

Buying books through IndieBound is easy. Much like Bookshop.org, when you search for a bookstore, you are sent to their website, where you can purchase books directly from the seller. If you don’t have a local store, you can purchase books on Bookshop.org through IndieBound.

IndieBound also curates a monthly Indie Next List and Indie Bestsellers list. Bookseller recommended reads gives you options for your next read, while the bestseller list offers books based on sales in independent bookstores, not based on book sales overall.

The next time you suddenly need to purchase a book, don’t just zip over to a big-box website. Support local! If you can’t make the physical trip to your indie bookstore, then use websites like IndieBound or Bookshop.org. Or, if you are a fan of audiobooks, consider changing your subscription to Libro.fm to put money back into your local community.

Most importantly – keep reading!

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