Independent Bookstores and Local Shops

Worried about your local independent bookstore surviving the shelter-in-place orders, curfews, and social distancing of the COVID-19 pandemic?

[art by Jonathan Wolstenholme]

David Velleman (Johns Hopkins) suggests that people consider buying books from—and listing their own books on— He writes:

This site enables independent bookstores to set up their own sites within the domain, with all fulfillment functions performed by a third party; and in addition to the returns the bookstores earn from their sites, they share in a pool of returns earned by the central site. If your book its not yet available on, you can become an affiliate and list the book on your own sales site. You will then earn a share of the sales, but if you already link to your books on Amazon from your personal home page, you can switch those links to and format them in such a way that the earnings will go to your local independent bookstore instead, if they are also affiliates. (The format is where xxxx is the affiliate number of the store and yyyyyyyyyyyyy is the ISBN-13 number of the book.)

As for other shops and restaurants, in addition to patronizing them now in their modified forms—many restaurants have switched to takeout only, and many shops are offering at least curbside (drive-up) service—one suggestion is to purchase gift certificates now for use later. If you can’t get in touch with the shops or restaurants directly about this, they may be making use of Kabbage, a service through which businesses can sell gift certificates online and anyone can purchase them.

I understand how it can seem silly to worry about the possible permanent closure of your favorite local shops and restaurants owing to a disease that may kill millions, but keep in mind that if these businesses close for good, that means employers and owners lose their livelihoods, and people become more vulnerable.

Notify of

1 Comment
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
4 years ago

Thank you for this post. We’re doing all we can to help small business owners, please sign up and please share the link. We’re not profiting from this and built it in a matter of 3 days. We’re rapidly building more solutions, including a new feature for consumers to search and find businesses to buy certificates. Please tell business owners who need support, and anyone that can support. Thank you!