Ways to Support Black-Owned Bookstores

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.

Be patient.

If you’ve recently made purchases for print books from your local bookstore, we salute you! It’s also important to recognize that amidst a pandemic which has affected staffing, shipping, and distribution centers–and also, everything else–independent bookstores and booksellers are doing the best they can under difficult circumstances to get books to you in a timely fashion. Some anti-racist titles are in such high demand that they’re backordered and are being reprinted by publishers. Be kind. If you must email, do so gently!

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.

Buy a gift card.
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 physical shipping, be patient. Your new, bookish t-shirt 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, pay-as-you-go for individual audiobooks in support of your bookstore.

You can gift audiobook memberships to friends and family, as well as 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 bookstores@libro.fm, 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.

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!

Support them within your community.

Encourage your workplace, company, or organization to buy bulk audiobooks via our Corporate Audiobook Program.

Refer a friend to a Libro.fm membership, and encourage them to support a Black-owned bookstore with their purchases.
If you refer a friend, they’ll get their first month for free, and you’ll get a free audiobook once they begin a paid membership. It’s a win-win!

Encourage your friends and family to follow suit and support Black-owned bookstores. Get started by sharing this list!

Be patient.

So true, we’re saying it twice.

If there’s an excellent way to support Black-owned bookstores that’s not included in the list above, let us know in the comments section!

Kelsey Norris is a writer and former bookseller currently based in DC. She enjoys travel, outdoor activities with her pup, and overcommitting to DIY projects. Find more of her work at www.kelseynorris.com.

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