If you’re one of those who shop for books online but don’t like supporting Amazon, there’s finally a great alternative for you to check out.  Bookshop.org launched early this year and gives independent bookstores free access and technology to build their own online presence.  Basically, your local indie bookstore sets up an account and adds lists of recommendations.  Bookshop.org takes care of all the rest including shipping.  Here’s how their website describes their service:

Bookshop is an online bookstore with a mission to financially support local, independent bookstores.  We believe that bookstores are essential to a healthy culture. They’re where authors can connect with readers, where we discover new writers, where children get hooked on the thrill of reading that can last a lifetime. They’re also anchors for our downtowns and communities.

As more and more people buy their books online, we wanted to create an easy, convenient way for you to get your books and support bookstores at the same time.

If you want to find a specific local bookstore to support, find them on our map and they’ll receive the full profit off your order. Otherwise, your order will contribute to an earnings pool that will be evenly distributed among independent bookstores (even those that don’t use Bookshop).

Granted the prices aren’t as cheap as Amazon but the lists from some of the participating bookstores are really valuable in finding midlist and backlist books you’d never have heard of otherwise.  There’s also the fact that you’re supporting a good cause, shopping local and all that.  Here’s a few lists that we’ve enjoyed browsing and shopping from:

  • Gifts for Dad – A large list featuring fiction and nonfiction encompassing everything from Tom Petty to Jim Harrison, a $135 Peter Beard book to a $12.75 box of Audubon postcards.
  • Nature Writing – The classics are here–Bartram, Muir, Thoreau, Leopold, Stegner, Berry, Lopez–as well as some of the newer voices in the genre–Robin Wall Kimmerer, Bernd Heinrich, Frans de Waal, Helen MacDonald, etc.
  • Poetry in a Time of Corona – Poetry for anytime really.  Again all the names you’d expect to find along with a sprinkling of less well-known poets like Edith Sodergran, Amy Gerstler, John Clare, Jane Kenyon, Killarney Clary, Michael Haslam, Robert Adamson, Zbigniew Herbert, James Tate, Antonio Machado, Rabindranath Tagore, Giacomo Leopardi.
  • The Writing Life – From Moleskines to Stafford’s classic “Writing the Australian Crawl.”  John Berger to Marina Tsvetaeva.  Also help with essays and memoirs as well as a fine collection of reference books.
  • The Female Voice – With a focus on artists whether their voice is a pen or a paintbrush.

Nothing is better than being face-to-face with a trusted veteran bookseller but, in lieu of that, these lists may be a bearable substitute.