Last week we brought you tips for supporting authors in light of event cancelations due to the current COVID-19 pandemic. Today, we want to talk about supporting our beloved indie bookstores. Many stores are closing their doors to the public and moving entirely online to keep staff and patrons safe. Here are tips on how to support these crucial small businesses during this unprecedented time.

Stay connected through social media and newsletters
Following your store’s social media accounts and newsletters will ensure that you’re up-to-date on their specific situation. Should they share a message saying they’re struggling and need support, you’ll be able to jump to action to help. (Many stores have already announced creative ways patrons can support them virtually—scroll to the end of this article for a list!)

Now that you’re following your store on social media, make sure to help signal boost their posts! Use the platform you have to talk about why you love your local store and ensure that their news can reach even more readers. Who knows, you may be able to introduce a fellow bookworm to their new favorite bookstore.

Leave a review
Take the time to leave a review for your favorite store on Yelp, Trip Advisor, or Google. This will help other readers discover the store now and in the future.

Make a donation
Book Industry Charity Foundation helps to support bookstore employees who are facing financial hardship. Make a donation here!

Sign up for is an audiobook subscription service that connects to the indie bookstore of your choice. Every purchase you make helps support a bookstore! If you sign up now using the code SHOPBOOKSTORESNOW you’ll receive two audiobooks for the price of one and 100% of your payment goes to the bookstore.

Check in with your local government
Small businesses are the backbone of our communities. Find out how your local government is planning on assisting small businesses during this time and if there are ways you can help.

Reach out
Some stores (such as Powell’s and the Strand) are choosing to close their doors completely for the safety of employees and patrons. Check online to see if they have any suggestions for how to support them during this time, or reach out by phone or email to find out what you can do to help. Even if you can’t support financially, sending a heartfelt, caring message to let your local store know how much you support them can be very powerful.

Buy books
As if readers need an excuse to buy books, right? One of the best things that you can do is visit your bookstore’s website and order books, gift cards, or other bookish merchandise. Pre-orders are always helpful, but in most cases payment isn’t released until the book is shipped, so consider releases coming up soon (over the next few weeks, rather than months) for pre-orders.

Attend virtual events
Many bookstores are now hosting virtual events such as storytime for kids, excerpt readings from authors, interview series, book club discussions, and more! Check your local indie’s social media to see what they have planned.

Here’s a list of stores offering special offers or discounts right now:

You can order custom or surprise care packages from Love’s Sweet Arrow, the Ripped Bodice, hello hello books, WORD, and Changing Hands.

There’s $1.00 shipping at Literati Bookstore!

Harvard Book Store’s coupon code SHOPLOCAL gives you free shipping.

The following stores are also offering free shipping through March: Quail Ridge Books, Politics and Prose, Elliott Bay Book Co., Porter Square Books, Brookline Booksmith, and Boulder Book Store.

The Bookstore at the End of the World is a virtual store created by newly unemployed New York City booksellers and is a great way to support booksellers who lost jobs due to store closures.


Do you have a tip for supporting local stores or want to shout out your favorite? Share it in the comments below! 

Kelly Gallucci

Kelly Gallucci is the Executive Editor of We Are Bookish, where she oversees the editorial content, offers book recommendations, and interviews authors and NetGalley members. When she's not working, Kelly can be found color coordinating her bookshelves, eating Chipotle, and watching way too many baking shows.

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