9 Nonprofit & Collective Bookstores That Every Book-Lover Needs To Visit And Support
Any book-lover will tell you that independent bookstores are the foundation of our communities. But within the category of independent bookstores, there's another very special category of shops: the nonprofit and collectively-owned bookstores. The profits from their sales usually go towards keeping the shop open and freely available for events or towards a good cause. It's a win/win — you get more books, and you get to give back to your community.
In an interview with Bustle about Independent Bookstore Day in April 2018, author Celeste Ng said: "Whenever you buy at an independent bookstore, most of that money stays in your immediate community. I learned recently that shifting even a small percentage of your book buying — as little as 1 in every 10 books you buy — goes a huge way towards the health of your local bookstore and your community. So when you shop locally, you’re helping the local economy, too."
This is especially true for nonprofit and collectively-owned bookstores, which often serve as safe spaces for community and conversation. Plus, you'll find that plenty of these bookstores are politically-minded and are focused on feminist ideologies and policies that ensure the equality of all people.
I love bookstores, and I'm always looking for a new place to browse. But I especially love it when I can shop for a good cause. So no matter where you are in the United States, here are some fantastic nonprofit and collective bookstores that you need to check out:
Bluestockings: New York City
Housing Works Bookstore Cafe: New York City
Wooden Shoe Books: Philadelphia
Readers Bookstore: San Francisco
Operated by the nonprofit Friends of the San Francisco Public Library, Readers Bookstore is a true gem. The best part is that the money you spend here benefits the public library!
Monkeywrench Books: Austin
6. Open Books: Chicago
OK, so Open Books is super cool. They are a "a nonprofit social venture that provides literacy experiences for tens of thousands of readers each year through inspiring programs and the creative capitalization of books." That's right, they fund literacy programs, book grants, and more by selling donated books.
Charis Books: Atlanta
Find them at: 1189 Euclid Ave NE, Atlanta, GA 30307
Charis Books is one of the oldest feminist independent bookstores in the country, and it also includes a nonprofit programming arm called Charis Circle. Charis Circle "encourages the expression of diverse and marginalized voices, fosters sustainable feminist communities, and works for social justice."
More Than Words: Boston and Waltham, MA
More Than Words is a "a nonprofit social enterprise that empowers youth who are in the foster care system, court involved, homeless, or out of school to take charge of their lives by taking charge of a business." That's right, this bookstore is run by young adults. You have to check it out.
Left Bank Books: Seattle
Left Bank Books is a radical, anarchist, collectively-owned bookstore, selling new and used books. They specialize in anti-authoritarian, anarchist, independent, radical and small-press titles. An absolute must-visit if you're in Seattle!