As social distancing measures continue to remain in place across most of the country, independent bookstores are just one of many small businesses that are being heavily impacted by the government-mandated shutdown. Meeting revenue goals and paying staff is harder to do than ever, and if you're able, helping to keep bookstores and other shops afloat is an impactful way to support the community around you.
Luckily, there are online sites like BookShop, which help to financially aid independent bookstores, meaning doing your part is convenient, simple, and always appreciated. BookShop is a place where writers, publications, and individuals can earn affiliate fees to benefit local booksellers in their communities. One way BookShop does this is by giving 10 percent of the non-bookstore-affiliated sales to participating American Booksellers Association shops that opt into the program, with the overall earnings being divided among the stores twice a year. For bookstores that are affiliated and sell books online through the BookShop site, they earn 25 percent commission on the sales they generate. And the best part is they can do so without the hard part of the job like keeping inventory, shipping the products, and handling customer service since this is taken care of by a content group called Ingram. Affiliates can also create articles and recommendations on BookShop, earning commission on the sales generated from those posts. In addition to helping those bookstores, the company also supports booksellers in the communities of its customers. Each receipt a customer receives comes with information about bookstores in their area, so they can shop locally.
Other ways to help independent bookstores include ordering books online from your favourite stores or donating to workers. Some indie bookstores are offering discounted books and free shipping on their websites, so buying directly can be a win-win for both parties. Donating to workers in need is a great way to help those affected by layoffs, and resources like Book Industry Charitable Foundation (Binc) are specifically targeted at booksellers facing unexpected financial crises. The nonprofit group was founded on the idea of having a fund for bookstore employees in need of monetary help, and because of that, it's dedicated to assisting workers across the country. In addition, companies like Libro.fm make it possible for audiobook-lovers to buy books directly through their local bookstores online. The company is currently partnering with a handful of artists to create socks for readers with all the proceeds going directly to Binc to support booksellers in need of financial aid.
Whether you're a bookworm or not, it's vital to support independent stores by shopping small and keeping local booksellers a fundamental part of our communities during this pandemic and long after it's over. Take a peek at all the titles BookShop has to offer, donate to Binc, or shop locally to do your part. Until we can successfully turn the page on this chapter of life, helping those around you is one way to make this story a little brighter.