By the time you’re done reading this sentence, Amazon will have made another $1.7 million dollars, while your local, independent bookstore faces an uncertain future.
The #BoxedOut campaign from the American Booksellers Association (ABA)—a national, not-for-profit trade organization that works to help independently owned bookstores grow and succeed—outlined some key points about why shopping at your local bookstore over Amazon is more important now than ever before.
1. More than one independent bookstore has closed each week since the pandemic shut the United States down.
Results from the Small Business Majority’s survey in August 2020 found that, without additional funding, 26% of small-business owners across the United States may not survive past the next three months, and nearly 44% say they may be unable to survive another six months.
2. Currently, 20% of independent bookstores across the country are in danger of closing.
Allison K Hill, CEO of the ABA says that “People may not realize the cost and consequences of ‘convenience’ shopping until it’s too late….Closed indie bookstores represent the loss of local jobs and local tax dollars; the loss of community centers; and the loss of opportunities for readers to discover books and connect with other readers in a meaningful face-to-face way.” [Source: Business Wire]
3. Approximately 28% of all indie bookstore revenue immediately recirculates in the local economy.
Compare that to Amazon, which recirculates only 4% locally. [Source: 2019 Civic Economics “Prime Numbers” study]
4. Choosing a locally-owned business generates 3x as much economic benefit for your community versus shopping at a chain.
When you shop local, you are directly supporting and enriching your own community with your purchases—and your tax dollars. [Source: American Independent Business Alliance]
5. Buying local means less packaging, less transportation, and a smaller carbon footprint.
There is no need for 2-day shipping when you can pick up your book directly from your local bookstore.
6. Amazon will be just fine.
Amazon doubled its net profit year over year to $5.2 billion, compared to $2.6 billion at this time in 2019. Amazon’s Q4 revenue is also projected to exceed $100 billion for the first time—making it one of the very few American companies ever to achieve that, alongside Walmart and Exxon.
In short, buy books from people who want to sell books, not colonize the moon.
Jenna Homen works on all things related to social media and the Libro.fm community. When not reading and listening to books, she is probably painting or hiking.