I am not here to shame anyone for using Amazon, Barnes and Nobles or any of the other major chains. I use them myself. And, admittedly, there will be links to Amazon on this site. However, I also believe in the independent booksellers, and think it is important to know the independent alternatives and make an effort to support them as well. With the holiday season upon us, and many of us shopping for book-loving family members, I wanted to consolidate some independent ways to feed our loved ones’ brains.
A self-labeled “Community of Independent Bookstores”, IndieBound’s website has a number of resources including their indie store finder that gives you the closest local shop to your house. Further you can find independent publishing news, book info and cool merchandise. According to this group, “spend $100 at a local store and $68 of that stays in your community. Spend the same $100 at a national chain, and your community only sees $43.” Did I mention that they ship books within the United States and Territories?
A Uk-based online bookstore, boasting over 9 million different titles and free worldwide shipping. Free worldwide shipping in 2015 is not common. Wordery is sure to keep growing so if they don’t have the book you are looking for this December, they may have the one you want next year. Stepping beyond the world of an online retailer, Wordery also involves itself in literacy campaigns, volunteer work and provides guidance to those looking to self-publish. Wordery promotes the appreciation of literature as a whole.
Powell’s Bookstore – Portland, Or
If you have ever visited Portland, Oregon, I sincerely hope that you stopped by Powell’s!! It has to be one of the biggest Independent storefronts in the US, and I imagine one of the better known too. When Stephen Colbert was fighting with Amazon, Powell’s is the site he chose to promote instead.. If you can’t make it to the Pacific Northwest, at least their website allows you to order any of their books and there are very active blog and staff pick sections. If you happen to find yourself in PDX, Powell’s hosts book signings, reading groups and other community events at their 5 locations around town.
City Lights Books – San Francisco, Ca
City Lights Books was founded in the 1950s by famed poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti and Peter D. Martin. The nation’s first all-paper back store now sells hardcovers as well, even CDs and DVDs. Much of what can be said about Powell’s will also apply to the City Lights’ stores in San Francisco today but City Lights has a publishing wing too that continues to put out new releases ever year. Lastly, the Foundation of the same name, with “a commitment to preserving and promoting the diversity of voices and ideas that are represented in quality books,” aims to advance deep literacy via collaborations with arts and community groups around the Bay Area to produce programming, books and cultural activities.
Those are 4 of my favorite alternatives! Are there others that you prefer to use?