I feel a little bit like there isn’t much I can do to be helpful during this global pandemic. I’m not a healthworker, I can’t sew (trust me, you wouldn’t want to wear a mask I made. The last time I sewed anything was long, long ago in elementary school. I was in 2nd grade, I think, and preparing to recieve my First Communion. For some reason part of the preparations included spending a morning in our school’s cafeteria where we cut out lamb shapes from fabric, stuffed them, and then sewed them together. My lamb wouldn’t protect anyone from COVID-19 either), and I can’t convince stupid people that wearing a mask isn’t a huge civil liberties problem and the numbers aren’t as bad as predicted because of what we’re doing.
Something I can do, however, is support a few independent booksellers. Which I how I came to own the 20 books above! They are a mix of new and used books from a few of my favorite bookstores (or stores that I went to once and enjoyed):
- Powell’s - This one shouldn’t be a surprise. I, like many people, love Powell’s for many reasons. Whenever I’m in Portland I stop by and spend more money than I should... and since who knows if air travel will ever happen again I spent a pretty penny using their (not so great) website.
- Northshire Bookstore - I think we visited this store on our honeymoon... but I don’t know for sure. But they got some of my money anyway!
- BookPeople - This is a great bookstore in Austin, which I visit and spend way too much money at whenever I’m in Austin. They also have nice t-shirts.
- A Novel Idea on Passyunk - I haven’t actually visited this bookstore in person, despite the fact that it is in Philadelphia but I want it to continue to exist so I bought some books.
There is one glaring omission on the list above. My favorite bookstore in the world is The Strand. It is a favorite amongst many a book lover but they aren’t shipping books, so I couldn’t order any. I did order myself a gift card to help support them!
Indie Bookstore websites suck
One thing I discovered whilst trying to support independent bookstores I found out that many of them have horrible, horrible, very bad websites. It makes sense since these stores want you to come to their physical locations. They can’t compete with Amazon’s website (which really isn’t all that great either... but it is really easy to find what you’re looking for on Amazon, which is all that matters), so they just ignore their websites.
Bookshop.org is an interesting solution to this problem. It is a service that’ll sell books for indie bookstores and give a percentage to the bookstore. The store won’t make as much from the sale, but they also don’t have to ship books or keep the inventory so that seems like a win to me. And Bookshop.org is a very nicely designed website.