Charlie Jane Anders helps to organize fundraisers to benefit independent bookstores during the coronavirus

Speculative Fiction Stars Are Trying to Save Indie Bookstores—Here’s How You Can Help

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There’s never been a better time to watch some of your favorite authors and thinkers in conversation, with all proceeds going to the best of bookish causes—helping independent bookstores and booksellers.

Author Charlie Jane Anders (All the Birds in the SkyThe City in the Middle of the Night) told me that the We Love Bookstores! fundraisers were sparked by worries over the future of San Francisco’s adored indie bookstores. Anders explained how much is at stake if we lose these unparalleled spaces as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic:

Bookstores aren’t just shops—they’re the beating heart of the literary community. They’re where we all gather, and where people discover new authors and new worlds. They’re petting zoos for stories, where you get to take some of them home with you. If we lose our bookstores, we are truly screwed for good.

Hear, hear. On behalf of everyone who was raised by bookstores, I know I want to do my part. So how do we get involved?

Anders and other intrepid booklovers have organized a series of fundraising events that you can attend virtually. It’s a win-win scenario: you get to see literary and scientific luminaries in action, and help independent bookstores in the process!

The first two events are scheduled for April 8th and April 15th, 2020. April 8th will feature a conversation between bestselling authors and Star Trek: Picard writers Michael Chabon and Ayelet Waldman (Chabon also served as Picard’s showrunner). On April 15th, you can virtually attend a conversation between esteemed science journalists Carl Zimmer and Apoorva Mandavilli.

The events (with more to come) will take place on Zoom, and you can sign up on Eventbrite right now: Chabon and Waldman to support Pegasus Books | Zimmer and Mandavilli to support Green Apple Books. You can donate between $0-100 for a ticket to attend these exciting talks, but keep in mind every penny given is a penny that goes to a most worthy bookstore.

Working alongside Anders to help San Francisco book havens are wonderful authors like Annalee Newitz (AutonomousThe Future of Another Timeline), Mike Chen (Here and Now and Then and A Beginning at the End), Maggie Tokuda-Hall (the forthcoming YA fantasy The Mermaid, the Witch, and the Sea), Alia Volz (the upcoming memoir Home Baked), Alvin Orloff (I Married an Earthling and the memoir of 1980s queer culture Disasterama!). Also on board are book publicists Lara Starr and Cristina Deptula, design geek Erika Hall with Mule Design, and many more.

Find out about all the upcoming events at And consider further supporting great speculative fiction by clicking on the organizers’ linked books, which will take you into Pegasus Books and Green Apple Books‘ stacks.

(image: Charlie Jane Anders on Twitter / Pexels)

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Kaila Hale-Stern
Kaila Hale-Stern (she/her) is a content director, editor, and writer who has been working in digital media for more than fifteen years. She started at TMS in 2016. She loves to write about TV—especially science fiction, fantasy, and mystery shows—and movies, with an emphasis on Marvel. Talk to her about fandom, queer representation, and Captain Kirk. Kaila has written for io9, Gizmodo, New York Magazine, The Awl, Wired, Cosmopolitan, and once published a Harlequin novel you'll never find.