How to Love Your Indie Bookstore

Posted by Danielle Mohlman

Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

It’s not hard to fall in love with your local independent bookstore. From the moment you walk in, you’re greeted with an alluring brick floor or a bookstore cat or every book you’ve ever loved on display at the front of the store. It’s a book lover’s dream. And while we’re guilty of the infinite browse because the prices are higher than we thought they’d be (curse you, Amazon!), today we’re embracing that full price lifestyle – with the promise to honor and support our indies for all time. Small businesses keep our communities vibrant, y’all. Let’s treat them right.


Go on a Bookstore Date

Share your love of independent bookstores with your partner or best friend by going on a bookstore date. Agree that you’ll choose – and purchase! – a book for the other to read, based on their interests and literary loves. This isn’t the time to force your partner to read Moby Dick or that author you’ve been talking about since college. This is about finding the perfect literary date for your own literary date. Bonus points if you’re both ready to start a new book that very night. How incredibly cute would it be to put on some music and read on the couch for hours after? We’re swooning just thinking about it.


Indulge in Some Merch

If you can’t always purchase brand new hardcovers from your independent bookstore, consider repping the store in your daily life instead. Most indies have a robust merch line – everything from mugs to tote bags to t-shirts. Snap a quick ‘gram of your morning coffee and latest library read, tagging the store for maximum in kind advertising. Use a bookstore-branded tote bag while on a grocery run, conspiring about bookish things with your neighbors in line. And wear an indie bookstore shirt to the gym at peak workout time to assure your fellow gym enthusiasts get the message.


Be Purposeful About Your Spending

We know that paying sticker price at your local indie isn’t financially feasible for most folks, so consider another tactic: buy fewer books overall, relying on your local library to fill in the gaps, and use your book budget on your indie rather than an online retailer. Not only will you be rejoicing in the magic that is a library holds list, you’ll also get that warm fuzzy feeling every time you pick up one of the books you own. And that alone would make Marie Kondo proud. But imagine a world where you know exactly where each of your books was purchased and the story behind each one. It’s a beautiful feeling.


Host a Book Club

Some independent bookstores have a book club component, but if yours doesn’t, volunteer to start one. Organize a group of bookstore regulars around a central theme – the immigrant experience, for example, or contemporary young adult – and hit the ground running! Start with a few book club participants, but be welcoming of new members as the club grows and the word gets out. You could even arrange a discount with the hosting indie if interested parties buy the book there. It’s a great way to share your love of reading with your community!


Lend a Hand

Like any small business, a little volunteering can go a long way. Ask your local independent bookstore what they need. Do they need someone to moderate author appearances or serve wine at events? Does the bookstore cat need care? Do they need someone to put up posters in the neighborhood advertising an event or sale? Whatever the case, make yourself known and available to your neighborhood store. Introduce yourself next time you come in. Say hi even if you aren’t buying anything. Because this is your literary community. And they need you as much as you need them.