For the love of books: how to support indies during COVID-19

Bookselling can be a precarious business, especially for indie bookshops and small presses who lack the big war chests needed to get them through a crisis. Here are some resources that readers can use to help bookshops and those who rely on them through this difficult period (all well as top up your TBR piles for being stuck indoors), plus some fab projects book folk are doing to lift spirits and offer support.

The situation is always changing, but we we will try to keep this as relevant and up-to-date as possible.

Last updated: 08/04/2020

How to Find & Support Independent Bookshops

Though bookshops across the UK have shut their doors, many are still able to take orders via phone, email, website, or social media. Alternatively, check if they offer wishlists, vouchers or book tokens for a future purchase, pre-order upcoming titles or put money towards a pay-it-forward scheme to help make books available to those who can’t afford them.

Indie Bookshops has an interactive Google Map of indie businesses offering delivery:

*With key wholesalers having reduced or shut down services some bookshops may no longer be offering mail order or only in single quantities, be sure to check with the bookshop first before ordering any copies.*

The Bookseller also have a comprehensive list of bookshops that are still taking orders, whether it be online, via email, or over the phone:

Alternatively you can search for your local bookshop via the Booksellers Association:

And follow the #ChooseBookshops hashtag online for more info & updates.

Great Places to Shop Online

If you’re not able to go to an independent directly, there are plenty of awesome online stores were you can buy books responsibly.

Hive represents hundreds of independent bookshops across the UK and a portion of all sales goes to a bookshop of your choice, right now they are doubling that commission on all home deliveries.

*Hive orders are currently limited to one book per purchase to ensure warehouse safety.*

Waterstones & Blackwells have closed all of their stores but you can still order from them online, they’ve also got tons of recommendations for keeping yourself & kids entertained at home.

The Big Green Bookshop can source almost any book and deliver worldwide. Just pop them an email or send a DM to @biggreenbooks.                                                                   

Kennys Bookshop can deliver a huge selection of books worldwide at great discounts, and offers free delivery in Ireland.

Comics & graphic novel fans head to the Forbidden Planet webstore who are also still taking orders. Alternatively Gosh Comics & Travelling Man are also operating online shops.

Foyles, Books Etc., Book Depository & WHSmith are also great choices, though be aware that in all-cases deliveries may be delayed due to high demand.

Events & Other Stuff

Burley Fisher Books have started a new podcast called Isolation Station where they’ll be interviewing writers like Preti Taneja, Emma Glass, and more.

Gayle Lazda of the LRB Bookshop has a fantastic fundraiser for booksellers affected by the crisis, all money will go to The Book Trade Charity and Penguin Random House UK will match contributions up to £50,000.

The top-notch folk at Edinburgh’s Lighthouse Books have launched the #LighthouseLifeRaft where they’ll be offering a load of extra-curricular book content.

Ninja Book Box are hosting a Virtual Bookshop Crawl from March 30th onwards. Sign-up here to tag along via your inbox or follow the #virtualbookshopcrawl hashtag on Twitter.

Gays the Word Bookshop are doing live poetry readings from LGBTQ poets every weekday between 10-11 on Instagram Live. You can also find past poems under the #C19Poems hashtag or saved to their Highlights under C-19 Poems.

Influx Press are doing regular Lockdown Discussions every Thursday chatting about various book / publishing topics. Check out their first video below on anthologies and follow them on Twitter @influxpress for more.

They are also working with Attrib. author Eley Williams to launch a Short Story Auction. Eley will write 19 flash fiction stories from scratch based on suggestions that you send in, in what will become a limited edition chapbook!

The money raised will help keep Influx going but also be split with The Book Trade Charity.

Melville House have launched #MelvilleHousehold, a live online book club starting 10th April at 7pm. You can download each book club pick as a discounted ebook and send questions to the author using the #MelvilleHoushold hashtag.

Forum Books, Book-ish, Booka Bookshop & Linghams Books are teaming up to launch At Home With which will be hosting live online author events with well known writers and illustrators. Follow on Twitter or Facebook for updates.

Know of anything else that should be included in this list? Let us know in the comments and we’ll add it in. Stay safe everyone and best wishes from us.

3 thoughts on “For the love of books: how to support indies during COVID-19

  1. Gay’s the Word Bookshop is reading a poem by a LGBTQ poet each weekday morning on Instagram Live between 10-11am, for some company and solace. Each reading is saved to our Stories for 24 hours and the poems are saved to our Highlights under C-19 Poems and under the tag #C19Poems. IG: @gaysthewordbookshop

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