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Here’s why you should preorder all your books from independent bookstores.

Katie Yee

November 8, 2019, 2:34pm

Who doesn’t love an independent bookshop? Think of the Shop Around the Corner in You’ve Got Mail! Think of the Travel Book Co. in Notting Hill! Embryo Concepts in Funny Face! Black Books from the British sitcom of the same name! Think of the real brick-and-mortar bookshop in your own community. Why would you go anywhere else for books?

Yesterday on Twitter, author Andrea Bartz did a very useful breakdown of why it’s important to preorder from independent bookshops. Here are the highlights:

1. To clarify: independent bookstore means locally owned, community booksellers. (Cough, not Barnes & Noble. Definitely not Amazon.)

2. Your interest in a title will indicate to booksellers that it’s worth checking out! Maybe they’ll read it. Maybe they’ll love it and give it table space up front and hand-sell it to everyone who walks in the door.

3. The New York Times considers purchases at privately-owned bookshops when putting together the Bestseller List, so your preorder might help your favorite author secure a spot on it.

4. Even if the bookstore doesn’t decide to stock the book you requested, they will order it special—just for you! (And if you don’t live near an independent bookshop, they will ship it right to you!)

5. If you really just want to order books online, you can also preorder a book through Indiebound. They split their profits with independent bookshops in their community network. (Similarly, look out for the soon-to-launch Bookshop.)

Further Reading: Celeste Ng on why bookstores are the center of the literary ecosystem.

Also: Want to go on a real deep dive of cool indie bookstores? Look no further.

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