On Oct. 31 Boris Johnson announced a second national lockdown which will end on Dec. 3. As part of the new restrictions all non-essential shops will have to close. This includes book retailers. Like so many other people, books have been a lifeline for me throughout the pandemic and for shops, this time of the year is often the busiest and most exciting. Closing their doors before the festive period could be seriously detrimental. So, here’s how to buy books from local and independent retailers in the UK. While shopping from big brands and corporations may feel like the easiest thing to do, showing your local and independent bookshops some love and support over the next month could keep them in operation.
On Nov. 2 Bookshop.org released the exciting news that they’d be launching their UK site. Described as “a socially conscious alternative to Amazon” it allows you to order books online directly from local and independent retailers who will keep the full profit margin. Not only is this news a brilliant early Christmas present to independent book retailers across the UK, it comes just in time for the second lockdown. So, if you want to pick up some books for loved ones or treat yourself (because you deserve it) here’s how to find and buy books from local and independent retailers.
Find and buy online
One way to buy locally and independently is by using bookshop.org. When you go to the site you can search for a specific title or browse by genre. Similarly, they have an interactive map which highlights all of the bookshops they work with and support. If you’d like to order from a specific shop you can select it on the map.
Indie Bookshops also have a tool to highlight independent retailers across the UK and Ireland. All you have to do is zoom in on your area. Booksellers also have an interactive map where you can search by area and types of bookshops i.e. faith bookshops. While you may be able to order directly from your local independent shop, some may require you to call ahead to check stock and place an order.
Discovering local and independent retailers during the pandemic is great for both shop owners and workers and you. But they're not just for lockdown — you should continue showing them love even after restrictions are eased.
Supporting bookshops in other ways
It’s likely that bookshops in your area have their own social media pages where they highlight what they have in stock, how to find them, and their community. Following these pages will mean your Instagram feed will be scattered with literary references, inspiring bookshelves, and cosy reading nooks. By promoting their content, singing their praises, and sharing how your followers can buy from them you’re not only raising awareness for their shop but also building a relationship with the people that work there.
Similarly, due to the fact that we’re edging ever closer to the festive period many shops will have organised events and readings. If you planned on attending any then double check whether they’ve moved online. Q and As, readings, and book launches aren’t just a great way to indulge in your love for books. You’ll meet the people who run and attend your bookshop and if you can, pay to attend or give a donation to those who organised it.