Arts & Culture

How Buying Indie Might Help Save the South’s Bookshops

Ways to support your local independent bookstore during coronavirus distancing

Photo: Courtesy of Parnassus Books

Parnassus Books in Nashville, Tennessee.

Throughout time and across the globe, books have brought people together—a fact that remains amid the uncertainty that comes with the spread of the coronavirus and the social distancing taking place to curb it. Bookstores (along with nearly every other brick-and-mortar establishment) may be closed to in-person visits, but indie shops throughout the region—an already endangered species—are still providing Southerners with great books and acting as community outlets. The following stores and initiatives are even offering special discounts and incentives right now as they seek to sustain readers and authors, and stay in business. 

Parnassus Books
Nashville, Tennessee
At the author Ann Patchett’s Music City store, the team is taking phone orders and offering curbside delivery. Online orders made with the code FREESHIP50 will receive free shipping on any purchase over $50. 

Old Town Books
Alexandria, Virginia 
This new Alexandria bookstore is offering $1 shipping, plus free local deliveries. The team is also preparing a roster of online classes. 

Square Books
Oxford, Mississippi
With free deliveries (for those lucky enough to live within five miles of downtown Oxford) and free shipping (everywhere else), Square Books is helping keep Mississippians stocked with their favorite titles. Stay tuned for a lineup of virtual events. 

photo: Maude Schuyler Clay
Square Books.

Capitol Hill Books 
Washington, D.C.
Email to schedule a private appointment to peruse Capitol Hill Books’s inventory in an otherwise empty shop, or order online with free domestic shipping. 

Austin, Texas 
Both the books from BookPeople and the coffee and pastries from CoffeePeople, the store’s adjoining café, are available for over-the-phone ordering and curbside pickup. 

Avid Bookshop
Athens, Georgia
The Avid Bookshop staff is happy to answer calls to give recommendations and take orders for pick up—call ahead when you’re close and they’ll place the books outside the front door—or free shipping on purchases over $50. 

Thank You Books 
Birmingham, Alabama 
From 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. on business days, Thank You Books will be fulfilling online and phone orders, for curbside pickup or drop-off on local stoops. 

photo: Courtesy of Thank You Books
Thank You Books. 
New members to this online audio bookseller will get two audiobooks for the price of one ($14.99), and 100 percent of the proceeds goes to a bookstore of your choosing with code SHOPBOOKSTORESNOW. 

Wiley Cash’s Corona Canon
The North Carolina author and G&G contributor Wiley Cash has transformed the Open Canon Book Club, his virtual monthly book club intended to introduce readers to little-known literary voices, into the Corona Canon, a way to promote authors whose books are being released in the midst of the pandemic, and whose readings, signings, and appearances have been postponed. Subscribe here

Book Industry Charitable Foundation 
This ongoing fund helps booksellers in times of need, and this week, the foundation has received more requests than ever before from booksellers needing to pay medical and household bills as shops across the country close. Donate to their cause here