Life is uncertain but books are always there to support us, guide us, educate, and entertain us. We love books here at the Mary Sue, so we’re excited to celebrate Independent Bookstore Day! Now, more than ever it’s important to support independent, local bookstores. Especially this week, with the news that Amazon founder Jeff Bezos is now worth $200 billion, there’s no better time to support independent retailers.
Here are just a few of our favorites:
Powell’s City of Books, Portland, Oregon. I acknowledge my bias here as a native Portlander, but Powell’s is an incredible place. It’s where we take out of town visitors. It’s where I buy 40% of my Christmas presents. This muli-floor oasis takes up an entire city block, and their selection of new and used books curated by an amazing staff can’t be beaten. Literally, it’s the largest bookstore in the world and it’s been running independently for nearly fifty years.
Powell’s recently made news by declaring they would no longer sell books on Amazon, declaring: The vitality of our neighbors and neighborhoods depends on the ability of local businesses to thrive. We will not participate in undermining that vitality.” And even if you can’t visit Portland, you can buy from Powell’s online. It’s worth it.
The Ripped Bodice, Culver City, California. We love this store because we love, well, love. The Ripped Bodice deals exclusively in Romance and is the only such store on the West Coast. Run by sisters Ben and Leah Koch, they work to uplift and promote romance and other female-run businesses, and they’ve been incredibly successful in doing so. Romance gets a bad wrap, but The Ripped Bodice is here for everyone that knows there’s nothing better than a steamy paperback with a happy ending, and all the other joys the Romance genre encompasses.
Cafe con Libros, Brooklyn New York. This is the exact sort of place we think of when we consider independent bookstore. Cafe con Libros is a Black and Female-owned store and coffeeshop that stocks their shelves and programming with a focus on intersectional feminism. “Through our choice of books, programming and great coffee, we endeavor to create a vibrant community space where everyone; specifically female-identified folx, feel centered, affirmed and celebrated,” their website explains and that’s wonderful.
Cafe con Libros is just one of 120 independent, Black-Owned bookstores highlighted but Oprah magazine this week. There are listings for Black-owned bookstores in every state, so you can be sure to find one in your area to support.
Bookshop.com. Okay, maybe you can’t get to a local store. There is a pandemic going on. That’s where Bookshop.com comes in. Instead of buying from Amazon, you can buy from Bookshop.com and they will source your book from a local independent retailer, making sure that they get the money instead of Jeff Bezos. It’s a simple and wonderful way for us bookworms who aren’t so keen on leaving the house to support local businesses.
These are just a few of the amazing independent bookstores that we love across the country. Share your favorites and why you love them in the comments!
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