We believe that Black Lives Matter, that Black books matter, and that Black-owned bookstores are integral to the indie bookstore landscape.
After the outpouring of support and engagement with this list of Black-owned bookstores, we wanted to recommend some actionable ways (beyond buying books, of course) to support local, independent, Black-owned bookstores across the country and around the world.
Below are some tips on how to support independent bookstores financially and socially.
1. Be patient.
While things are slowly opening back up, many bookstores still have restricted staffing and browsing options to keep booksellers and book-shoppers alike safe. The days of freely browsing your favorite bookstore in person will be that much closer if we can adapt to the safety needs and restrictions of the moment, so follow bookstores’ guidelines. If you’re waiting on an online order, do your best to be patient, since shipping and distribution might still be recovering from the shortages of the past year. If you must email, do so gently!
2. Support them with your wallet.
- Buy print books directly from the store.
- Check store websites for the latest shipping updates, timelines, and details on curbside pick-up when available. And see the note above regarding patience!
- Pre-order books with a future release date.
- Stores get the money now, and will fulfill the orders upon release.
- Pre-ordering is a great way to support books and authors as well, since pre-orders can increase orders from bookstores and help secure a spot on the New York Times bestseller list for the book in its first week!
- Buy a gift card.
- Looking for the perfect gift? Bookstores get the proceeds from gift card sales immediately. Plus, if a bookstore’s shipping is delayed, or if it temporarily isn’t taking new orders, you can purchase a gift card and redeem it later when they’re caught up.
- Buy the bookstore’s merch.
- Not only will your purchase support the bookstore, but you can rep the store with your newest tote bag, t-shirt, or other branded merchandise! Since this requires shipping, be patient. Your new, bookish tee or sassy mug will arrive just in time!
- Buy audiobooks from any of our Libro.fm partner stores, and we’ll split the profits with them! Find all the info on how to get started, and details about the options listed below here.
- As a Libro.fm member, you’ll provide continuous financial support during the length of your membership to the store of your choosing. You can also change your affiliated store as often as you like. Or, you can pay as you go for individual audiobooks in support of your bookstore.
- Gift audiobook memberships to friends and family, or individual audiobooks.
- Note: If the bookstore you’d like to support isn’t a partner store, ask them to sign up by sending us an email at email@example.com, and we’ll take care of the rest!
- Buy ebooks directly from the store.
- When available, these often deliver immediately.
- Donate if the bookstore is looking for support via GoFundMe or an equivalent fundraiser.
3. Support them with your platforms.
- Follow Black-owned bookstores’ social platforms (many of which are linked here) for the latest communications and offerings.
- Sign up for bookstores’ email newsletters to get updates, as well as info on events and recommendations.
- Write a positive review for your independent bookstore on Yelp and Google.
- Post about your favorite indie bookstore on your social channels to help your followers find them, too!
- Bonus points if you tag your bookstore in a post about your book order arriving!
4. Support them within your community.
- Encourage your workplace, company, or organization to buy bulk audiobooks via our Corporate Audiobook Program.
- Refer a friend to begin a Libro.fm membership, and encourage them to support a Black-owned bookstore with their purchases.
- Bonus: If you refer a friend who begins a membership, you’ll get a free audiobook credit!
- Encourage your friends and family to support Black-owned bookstores.
- Get started by sharing this list!
5. Be patient.
So true, we’re saying it twice!
Know another way to support Black-owned bookstores?
Let us know in the comments section!