Supporting Bookshops This Christmas
We might be a little biased, but here at The Publishing Post, we think that books make the perfect gift. This year, many of us are not able to go out to bookshops to purchase presents for our loved ones, and as a result, both our bookshops and our Christmas shopping lists are suffering. That is why we have put together this handy guide for book shopping this festive season, with advice on how to support our beloved bookstores in the process.
Where possible, the best way to support your local independent bookshop is to buy directly from them. Since lockdown, most bookshops have started delivering or have opened up for contactless collection, so you and the booksellers are able to stay safe. You can find your local independent bookshop here using this handy tool from the Booksellers Association. Plenty of indie bookshops now have an online store where you can browse to your heart’s content for that ideal gift you know recipients will love. Many have also stated that they are able to order in specific requests if they don’t stock the book you’re looking for – you may have to wait a few more days for it to arrive, but we think it’s worth it! Of course, not everyone needs or wants a book for Christmas, but you can still support your favourite bookshop. Why not treat yourself to a gift card to spend later, or find out if there are any shops in desperate need of funding for a new venture?
Do you know someone who seemingly has every book under the sun? Don't want to risk buying them a book they already own? Or maybe someone you know has such an incredibly specific taste in literature that you can't quite pin it down? Well, National Book Tokens are a brilliant way of gifting books without actually giving someone a book. Gone are the days when book tokens were a prize for winning a school competition; many book lovers will tell you that a token is a genuinely lovely gift. It is a promise of an hour or two spent enjoying a bookshop and picking out something really special. National Book Tokens are especially wonderful because they can be redeemed in a wide variety of bookshops, including Waterstones, WHSmith and Blackwell’s, as well as participating independent shops. Find a place to spend your tokens using the National Book Tokens bookshop finder.
Everyone in the publishing industry (including us) has been raving about a new way to support independent book retailers through Bookshop.org. The online shop offers a huge range of books, sold at a small discount and delivered in two to three days, so it is perfect for last minute Christmas shopping. Not only is the new site an easy and convenient way for customers to buy books, it also greatly supports its associated indie shops, since they receive the full profit margin (30% of the cover price) from each sale through this platform. Bookshop gives you the opportunity to shop at your favourite bookshops from the safety of your own home – a method of shopping that has become much more common over the last few years. In its first nine days operating in the UK, Bookshop raised £100,000 for bookshops, so choosing to order from them (over the likes of Amazon) this Christmas means they can continue to support indie stores moving into the new year. Hive.co.uk is another ecommerce site specialising in books, although they also sell DVDs, CDs and other gifts. Like Bookshop.org, they help support indies: after your purchase, you can select an independent shop, and a percentage of the revenue will be passed on to them.
All in all, there are some great options for easy and ethical book shopping. It’s more important than ever to support our local bookshops after they have had to close in the all-important run up to Christmas.