Good news for authors and readers – independent bookstores are on the rebound! Approximately 40% of indie bookstores closed from the mid-1990s and 2009. But sales are up more than 5% over last year.
For those of you unfamiliar with this term, an independent or indie bookstore is a bookstore that is independently owned. It is a small business.
The great thing about these stores is that they are staffed by book lovers. Shop at an indie and you will find new-to-you authors and a sense of community. And that’s a big part of this upswing – people working to support their communities and small businesses. No, you won’t get the deal you’d get on Amazon but the author will receive a larger royalty and a local business owner will earn a living.
And an indie bookstore is going to offer you services you don’t get from Amazon. At Shakespeare and Co in Manhattan, a special printer can print and bind a book, including a full color cover, in minutes if the book is not in stock.
I live in the St. Louis area. My indies include Half Price Books, Left Bank Books, and Main Street Books.
Not sure how to find an independent bookstore? Type your zip code into the Indie Bookstore Finder at Indie Bound (https://www.indiebound.org/indie-bookstore-finder) and you’ll get a list of the closest stores. I now have a list of 22 stores. I would debate calling some of these indies since the list includes campus bookstores but I’ve definitely got some new book stores to explore.