Bookstores Across America, Vol. Two: A Roundup of Ways to Support Indie Bookstores
As an organization that recognizes the power of the written word to transform the world, PEN America knows how important bookstores are for all of us as hubs of literary, civic, and community life. With independent bookstores all around the country forced to shut their doors due to the global pandemic, we reached out to booksellers in PEN Across America chapter cities and beyond to ask them how readers can support their favorite stores while sheltering in place. We’ll continue updating this page as we hear back from more bookstores, and if you’d like your local store to be included in this roundup, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bookmarks (Winston Salem)
Bookmarks, a literary arts nonprofit and independent bookstore, is currently fulfilling online orders through their website bookmarksnc.org with free shipping for orders over $25, personal recommendations via email, and book lists on their website to help with shopping. They are keeping everybody engaged and connected through virtual events like book clubs, trivia, and podcast interviews with authors about new releases.
Social: @bookmarksnc on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram
Quail Ridge Books (Raleigh)
Quail Ridge Books is offering free media mail shipping and encouraging orders through their website; they particularly encourage gift card purchases at this time. In the absence of the one-on-one interaction they are accustomed to having with patrons, they are doing their best to stay connected through photos and conversations on social media.
Social: @quailridgebooks on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram
Scuppernong Books (Greensboro)
At Scuppernong, their storefront might be closed, but they’re still filling online and phone orders. In addition to buying books, customers can buy gift certificates and memberships to support the store. Staff are talking to customers on the phone all day, posting on social media about new books, and scheduling virtual book talks, writing workshops, and book clubs. You can watch their “very zen” browsing video available online, and they’re about to launch a blog where readers can write and share about their experiences during the pandemic.
Social: @scuppernongbooks on Facebook and Instagram, @scupbooks on Twitter
Magic City Books
Since the move to social distancing, Magic City has been getting creative. They started with curbside pickup and their hugely popular “Solo Shopping Hours” (one person in store per hour, playing a customer’s favorite music while shopping). But as the lockdown became stricter, the shop has moved operations online. They also launched a new monthly subscription series called “Magic City Mailbox” and are on the lookout for more solutions in the weeks ahead.
Social: @magiccitybooks on Twitter, Instagram
Charis Books & More
Charis Books strongly encourages folks to shop online, explore their curated booklists, and check out their weekly New Title Tuesday push, which is focused primarily on the works of diverse and marginalized authors. Check out their calendar and social outlets for updates on rescheduled digital author events. You can directly support the work of Charis Circle, their 501c nonprofit, at chariscircle.org/donate. Charis also asks that Atlantans continue to put pressure on city and state officials to release ICE detainees from Stewart Detention Center and people who are awaiting trial and cannot afford bail in Atlanta jails.
Social: @charisbooksandmore on Facebook and Instagram; @chariscircle on Twitter