lately, i haven’t had a ton of inspiration for my blogging, and i had to consider what’s important to me in the publishing and reading communities. i’ve been sharing a lot more of my favorite diverse books, which i’ll continue to do, but i want to talk about why i link only to goodreads and encourage you to shop directly with your local bookstores, not through bookshop, which i used to.
first of all, bookshop is a great place to support independent bookstores as a whole, but i don’t feel the need to keep linking to it as an affiliate because blogging has never been a source of income for me like it is for so many other people. along with this, not all of the money spent on bookshop goes to the affiliate or seller you select, nor does that money really touch the local community.
last fall, new york city’s strand bookstore called on its community to shop with them so they could keep their doors open. the pandemic has forced so many businesses — many of them independent or small — to close their doors or do exactly what the strand did in the past year. in october of 2020, 20% of indie bookstores were in danger of closing. so, i wanted to do something.
in the past few years, i’ve barely bought physical books. mainly because i wasn’t reading as much, but also because ebooks from the library were 1) free, and 2) extremely portable. but when i was forced to move home and reading became even more of an escape and safe space for me than normal, i was reminded how much i love to hold a story in my hands. however, my household is firmly anti-amazon, and amazon’s low prices also cost authors and publishers (read more here!), so i didn’t want to even look at them. (i do still use the kindle app for library loans and have a goodreads account, but i don’t buy books or click on adds. working on moving away from those two, as well.) i also kinda of just forgot that barnes & noble exists, so i never considered going there.
my local bookstore, on the other hand, is a vibrant, cozy and community-centered place. they have tons of new releases, indies, used books and all the little extras you could want. i love going in (sometimes with my dog) and wandering around the YA and new release tables until my mom is bored and i have to make a decision. and the people that work there actually see the money i spend at the counter.
our independent bookstores need us. and we need them. our communities are brighter with them. our reading is better with them. i would rather buy less books and know that my money is going to the author, the publisher and the bookstore i walk into than the alternative. so the next time you’re eyeing a new release, i encourage you to keep your money local and support your favorite authors as much as you can.