Here Are Some Indie Bookstores That Are Seeking Donations
Independent bookstores around the country are in danger of closing for good. Here's where you can donate.
This post will be updated as we learn of more crowdfunding campaigns.
"Founded in 1938, the Larry Edmunds Bookshop moved to Hollywood Boulevard in the 1950's and learned that people all around the world seemed to have something in common, a love for the movies. They didn't just like to watch them either, they liked to collect material about them: books and photos and scripts and posters and even camera equipment." —Jeffrey Mantor, owner
Donate to Larry Edmunds Bookshop here.
Eyeseeme African American's Children's Bookstore, a shop in St. Louis, Missouri, that specializes in diverse characters and authors.
"We expanded to a larger space last year where we significantly increased our inventory and in-store programs, including tutoring, author visits and literacy programs. Moreover, we have built numerous community partnerships with schools and helped advocate nationally on the importance of diverse literature. For example, through a collaboration with A Red Circle & Maryville University we were able to provide free books to every student at Barack Obama Elementary School. Additionally, working with Dreambuilders for Equity we are in the process of opening up a Family Cafe at the store. That had to be put on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic." —Jeffrey & Pamela Blair, owners
Book Rack Used Books, a Peoria, Illinois, bookstore that is so beloved, six people have emailed asking me to get it on the list! Says Meredith B., "Stacy, the owner, not only provides used books at amazing prices, but also has a literacy foundation that supplies books to local, impoverished schools. She is currently doing 'boredom kits' with books to send to kids. She even opened it up to donations for the kits so children who can’t afford one, can still get one."
"When I was 12 years old, I used to go to The Book Rack, as it was called then, on Saturdays to get my week's worth of books. It was always my dream to own and expand Book Rack. I loved it so much! In 2016, my dream was realized and I took over the store. Aside from my family, Book Rack Used Books and Book Rack Literacy Foundation, Inc. are my heart! As the holder of a Master's in Education and a dyslexia tutor, literacy is my love. Sharing that love with others is as close to heaven on earth for me as you can get." —Stacy Hardin, owner
"We opened this store with zero loans or debt. Although we have acquired some debt since we opened, we haven't taken any loans to date. The current loans/grants being offered by SBA won't apply to us. We are asking our community to help sustain us through this time. Money from our community partners right now would go directly to publishers, distributors, utilities, rent, and future events to help us keep going." —Karen Opper, owner
I AM Books, an "Italian American cultural hub" in Boston that specializes in Italian and Italian American literature, history, and art.
"We must not lose hope. Throughout history, humanity has gone through trying times just like this one, if not worse. I think of Boccaccio and his Decameron, but also of Alessandro Manzoni, and his description of a plague-riddled Milan in The Betrothed. Times were desperate, but people managed to get through it and saw better days. If we act as a community and take care of each other, we will get out of this sooner rather than later." —Nicola Orichuia, co-owner
Anderson's Bookshop, a Naperville, Illinois, shop that has been run by the same family for five generations.
"Because Anderson’s Bookshop has been your neighborhood bookseller since 1875, we’ve weathered the Depression, recessions, Spanish Flu, natural disasters, even disco! We’ve battled competition from corporate big box stores, the e-reading revolution and enormous internet rivals. But today, right now, we are facing down a tremendous threat: this coronavirus pandemic. It’s hit us all hard and stifled our world. We may not all be infected, but we are all affected. We cannot thank you enough for your loyalty and helping us to thrive. Our business has relied on cash flow and foot traffic over generations as your home for books here in Illinois. Without those channels, our future is uncertain." —Anderson's Bookshop team
Sweet Peas & Back Forty Books, a shop that sells not only books but also a vast collection of goods — fine art, pottery, candles, jewelry, photography, quilts, soaps, and more — created by local artisans in Two Harbors, Minnesota.
"Although we are open year-round, ours is a business that is truly sustained by visitors to the north shore of Lake Superior — of which there are none these days. Our entire store business plan is based on in-store browsing. Seasonal traffic and 'word of mouth' have been our promotional go-tos, and they have always worked well for us — until now. Face-to-face interaction with our customers and partners is what we love as well as putting the right book into the right hands at the right time. We want to be able to continue to be here for you, but we are worried about our longevity." —Katie and Randy Lancaster, owners
Donate to Sweet Peas & Back Forty Books here.
Kona Bay Books in Kona, Hawaii — which at 6,000 square feet is the largest independent bookstore in the state.
"None of our used books (about 158,000 books) are in an inventory system, but we have a small selection of new books online and have been focusing on these sales. We’ve applied for SBA loans to help cover rent, utilities, and payroll, but the shift to online sales has increased our subscription fees, cost of goods, credit card processing fees, and shipping fees beyond what we are able to cover with those sales. We need your help covering expenses that won’t be eligible for government loans so we can keep our online sales going, retain employees, and keep customers engaged while the store is closed so we are in a good position to rebound once we can reopen." —Sarah Gibbon, owner
"When Lawrence Ferlinghetti tells the story of founding City Lights Bookstore in 1953, he talks about meeting a need. At that time, he says, there was no public place for writers and readers to experience community in San Francisco, and his goal was to create a 'literary meeting place' where all would feel welcome. He stocked his new bookshop with affordable paperbacks and kept City Lights open late hours as a way to provide the opportunity for working folks and bohemian types alike to partake in the scene and to mingle with each other. The idea was an immediate success, as the city’s intellectuals and literati quickly made the bookshop their home base and meeting ground. As Ferlinghetti says, 'Once we opened up the doors, we could hardly get them closed at night, the place was always packed!'” —Elaine Katzenberger, publisher and CEO
Old Firehouse Books, the 40-year-old bookstore housed in a historic Fort Collins, Colorado, landmark.
"Providing books to our community is an essential service in our eyes. We have been proud to keep providing you with books in the time of social distancing and we hope to continue providing you with books for many years to come (as well as all the other fun things like author events and book clubs and workshops). If you are able to donate, even if it's just a couple of dollars, your generosity will help to cover our rent, pay our vendors, and most importantly, keep our booksellers employed." —Renee Becher, organizer
"In the 48 years we have been part of the Newburyport community, we have worked hard to be the bookstore we felt this community deserved: a lively bookstore, with events, a passionate staff, a well-curated selection, and a meaningful place within the community. Over the years, we have proudly created jobs, brought amazing authors to town, paid our fair share of taxes, supported small and independent publishers and voices, given back to nonprofits and schools, and built a community. [...] It's been a privilege to be a part of this community and we'd like to be a part of it for another forty-eight." —Sue Little, owner
Donate to Jabberwocky Bookshop here.
Off the Beaten Path Bookstore, the largest bookstore (and top-notch coffeehouse) in Steamboat Springs, Colorado
"If you’ve ever walked into our store and felt immediately at home, then you know why this is important. If you’ve ever asked a bookseller for a good recommendation, had a conversation over a latte with a good friend, ever attended an author talk, poetry slam, trivia night, or storytime, then you know why this place matters. If the bookstore has impacted your life for the better, in a big way or small, please consider supporting us now so we can continue supporting you in the future." —Off the Beaten Path team
Dog Eared Books, the San Francisco shop that's been selling offbeat, small press, and local literature since 1992.
"Over the past four years, we have worked hard to foster a greater understanding of Chinese culture within our community. We curate books, host cultural events, and hire passionate staff all in pursuit of contributing to the rich atmosphere that makes Atlanta. This has been a collective effort, one that would not have been possible without the continued support of you all." —Yvonne Hou, organizer
Donate to Maomi Bookstore here.
"The past six years have been an incredible journey: seeing Bookends & Beginnings grow from an idea into such a vital, visible gathering place for Evanston’s literary community. 'I’m so glad you’re here' is a refrain we were hearing daily in the store. Above all, we love being a Happy Place for so many people who love the physical book — and while we’re lucky to be able to keep serving you the best we can online for the duration of this crisis, what I really look forward to is seeing you again in our cozy store." —Nina Barrett, owner
The Odyssey Bookshop, the store in South Hadley, Massachusetts, that started in 1957 as a humble book department in the local pharmacy.
"Since 1963 the Odyssey has served and supported the Western Massachusetts community and the Five Colleges in a variety of ways. As a proud and committed independent bookshop, we have worked hard to provide you with a carefully curated and continually updated selection of books that represents not only the many voices of our diverse country, but also voices from around the globe. My wonderful staff and I have taken great joy over the years in working with you to help you access and engage with a range of books, authors, and activities that we hope have helped to enrich your lives, and the life of the larger community. The money raised in this campaign will help the Odyssey weather the storm and ensure that we remain a vibrant part of this community for a long time to come." —Joan Grenier, owner
"As many of us know, Black-owned bookstores have been on the decline over the last couple of decades. Between 1999 and 2014, the number of Black bookstores declined by 83%, from 325 to only 54. It is vital that we do what we can to save these businesses that have served our communities for generations. Not only is promoting literacy and education essential, but being able to do so in a culturally competent environment where we see ourselves represented dynamically is a privilege that we can’t let go to waste." —Folasade Adesanya, organizer
Donate to Marcus Books here.
"Funds given to this campaign will help us weather this storm and make sure we can ultimately reach our goal, which is to keep this business afloat and exist in Peoria and Washington for years to come. Even once this passes, we are unsure what the market will look like when we can re-open, what the book-buying abilities of our community will be, and how we can quickly ramp up our operations once again. This campaign will help support The Book Nook both in the immediate and over the next several months, and longer." —Nathan Kerley, owner
East End Books Ptown, a shop in Provincetown, Massachusetts, known for its eclectic collection of books and magazines, including a robust LGBTQ section.
"Books have helped me throughout my life and I will continue to rely on their comfort in the weeks and months ahead. At East End Books Ptown, we will continue to help you find great books to read! See our latest book recommendations on our website and in our newsletters." —Jeff Peters, owner
Bank Square Books and Savoy Bookshop, two charming sister stores in Mystic, Connecticut, and Westerly, Rhode Island.
"Independent booksellers are resilient and courageous, but few of us have the financial cushion, particularly at this time of year, to absorb a near-total loss of income. My biggest concern is where we are going to be when this COVID-19 crisis is over, and whether we will have the means to reopen. Our most passionate goal is to continue to provide a gathering place that is full of literary discovery, human interaction, safety and kindness, not to mention suggestions for a good book to read. We are launching this campaign to raise funds that we hope will enable us to continue doing business as we have been for over thirty years at Bank Square Books in downtown Mystic, a cornerstone of our town, and with the beautiful Savoy Bookshop & Café in Westerly where we have been open since 2016." —Annie Philbrick, owner
Uncle Bobbie's Coffee & Books, a Philadelphia shop — named after the owner's uncle, whose home was "a bastion of unapologetic Blackness" — which specializes in black and African writers.
"Uncle Bobbie’s will be closed for the entire month of April. While not entirely surprising, this news is no less devastating, as we now have to find resources to pay expenses for April and possibly beyond. For this reason, we decided to officially extend our goal to $50,000. These funds will continue to be used to support the staff that are unable to work, paying the staff working part-time to work on the most critical tasks, paying our vendors (many of whom are small business owners) and other bills. We know that is a tough time for everyone. We appreciate all of you for your donations and for spreading the word. We are working incredibly hard to be even better when we reopen." —the Uncle Bobbie's team
"Happy Birthday to Buffalo Street Books — we’ve just turned 9 years old. It was April 2011 when we first organized as a cooperatively owned bookstore, and since then, you as a community have voted for us again and again — every time you buy a book, come to a reading, become an owner, attend an owner party, sale, or meeting. We have survived against immense odds, because Ithaca dearly wants a literary hub. But now our existence is threatened by the COVID-19 shutdown, and we need more help than usual." —the Executive Board of Buffalo Street Books
"I remember my first visit to the Alexandria office of the Small Business Development Center. I was nervous about meeting with a financial advisor and trying to convince them that I could make a retail brick-and-mortar bookstore work in the digital age. [...] In that meeting I got some sobering advice about opening a bookstore. I got denied loans and credit cards. The financial advisor looked at my year-three sales goal in my business plan and laughed. Fast-forward a year and a half later. I surpassed that year-three sales goal in year one. I hired a staff of brilliant booksellers. Together we hosted more than 100 free and low-cost literary events, brought dozens of authors to Old Town, and produced a literary festival for more than 800 attendees. But now the situation at hand is so extreme and so unpredictable that we're asking for your help to ensure Old Town Books is here for good." —Ally Kirkpatrick, owner
A Novel Idea on Passyunk, a Philadelphia bookstore that boasts an impressive selection of local and small presses.
"We are trying our best to continue to offer options for our community, friends, and family to support us, but we're worried we won't be able to pay rent on the store, our home, and other necessary living and work expenses. Any little bit helps!" —Alex and Christina, owners
"We know there are a lot of people in need right now. But if you feel like chipping in the $5 you would have spent on a latte this week or the $10 you would have spent on lunch, we will be forever grateful. Additionally, you can email us to purchase gift cards (we can mail them!) or a $20 three-book deal based on books you’ve enjoyed, delivered to your home (within ~25 min of Westbrook). We will continue to focus on how we can promote community while we are all isolated and try our best to offer virtual events. We will use our social media platforms to keep the Quill community connected." —Allison and Matthew, owners
Donate to Quill Books & Beverage here.
"As book lovers, we believe strongly in the power of books, particularly in these trying times. Books are the best companions. Books are a passport. Books allow us to connect, to escape, to adventure, and to learn. Books have connected us with you in ways we would never have expected, and we feel that we are all better for it. We are a young bookstore, but we love our community fiercely and it is our intention to stay in business forever. Unfortunately, sales have slowed dramatically and we are asking for help so that we can continue to do what we do. With your help, we will continue our mission as the bookstore for youthful readers." —Chelsea and Rachel, owners
"The future of Papercuts is in jeopardy and I need your help. I promise I'll continue to work my hardest to provide you the very best books I can find, to bring brilliant authors to the neighborhood, to publish even more books, and to continue be your local woman-owned independent bookseller in the beautiful Boston neighborhood of Jamaica Plain." —Kate Layte, founder and owner
"Since opening in 1998, Angel City has become a destination and a cultural fixture in Santa Monica for readers and record collectors. If you’ve shopped at the store, you know it houses an unparalleled collection of rare and vintage books and records. It’s a store and an ever-evolving museum, a place to admire the art on the walls and the shelves. There’s nowhere else in the city where you can buy a first edition and a first pressing at the same time. With uncertainty about when the store will be allowed to re-open, owner Rocco Ingala is asking for the public’s help in preserving it." —the Angel City team
Donate to Angel City here.
"It’s a hard call to ask for help when so many people need help right now. But I know to keep The Book Tavern alive and able to serve our community during and after this crisis, we will need more than the revenue coming in through the programs we’ve launched over the past month." —David Hutchison, owner
"Ray has always made it a priority to share his love for books with the community since 1969 as a student at Michigan State University. He has fond memories of transporting books on his bicycle and selling them out of the basement of a small house near campus. We hope to continue spreading the joy that only a good book can provide in the near future and for many years to come!" —Ray Walsh, owner and staffer
Grassroots Books, a bargain bookstore in Reno that donates over 100,000 books annually to kids, teachers, and nonprofits.
"Thank you for these past ten years. Thank you for allowing us to be part of your lives. Thank you for allowing us to promote literacy, and become a store where our community could come together and celebrate books. With your support, we can keep Reno reading." —Zoe Miller, organizer
Second Star to the Right, a children's and YA bookstore in Denver that's owned and operated by former elementary school teachers.
"For the past 5 and a half years, Second Star to the Right Books has been a place to immerse yourself in books; to escape, imagine, make new friends, and grow. As a former teacher, it has always been my belief that every child can be a reader — they only need the right story — and it’s been my great privilege to explore with them and find those stories over the years. Second Star seeks to embrace the entire Colorado community of readers, dreamers, and believers, from author visits and storytimes to kids’ Drag shows and princess parties. But now, stay-at-home orders have come between Second Star and our community. That’s why I’m asking for your help, along with my amazing booksellers." —Dea and Marc, owners
Respectrum Books, a used bookstore in Sussex, New Jersey, that aims to be "the starting place for our customers’ personal journeys."
"We are asking our friends and customers for your help now — so we may continue to spread our passion for books, literature, art, nature, spirit, knowledge and growth. We view the bookstore as a crossroads. So many people come in looking for direction or purpose. They may be coming in about a local service — or to find something to do with the rest of their day, or for a local place to eat. Maybe they are bored or distraught or celebrating something and want an audience — sometimes the books have the answers, and sometimes we do. We will be ecstatic to reopen and see our customers. Whatever the new normal looks like, we hope to continue to be a lighthouse in the storm." —Stephen Denman, owner
Donate to Respectrum Books here.
"We opened November 2, 2013, in hopes of bringing awareness to true African-American literature and culture. We’ve closed our doors for business because of COVID-19, and the many programs and community support we normally offer we are no longer able to do so. We are hopeful this crisis does not last. We love what we do here. We miss our customers, and we miss each other. Our goal is to weather this setback, and stay in business, and reopen our doors to our lovely customers & community very soon. Please help us make it through this time." —Carlos Franklin, owner
Andover Bookstore in Andover, Massachusetts — founded in 1809 and literally the oldest independent bookstore in the country.
"In the 211 years that we have been part of the Andover community, we have worked hard to be the bookstore we felt this community deserved: curated literature, numerous events, a great staff, and a meaningful place within the community. For more than 200 years we have supplied the textbooks and all of the clothing and spirit gear for Phillips Academy, creating numerous memories for generations of day students and students from around the globe that spent their prep school years in the Town of Andover. We have creatively found ways to deal with the onslaught of big box stores, online shopping, eReaders, and, in 2018, we faced the massive Merrimac Valley Gas Explosion Crisis that closed us down for days and changed the retail buying habits of the town for the subsequent four months. In each of those times we found ways to get by — we moved, we changed product mix, and reduced staffing. We always survived. Now we are asking for your immediate support." —the Hugo family, owners
"Books have always been for us a means of aspiration and reflection, curiosity and comfort; a means to go places without going far. Our mission, which privileges browsing, discovery, and inquiry, has allowed us to reimagine forms of engagement throughout our history. We are confident that, with your support, our stacks will continue to inspire, inform, and comfort readers." —Jeff Deutsch, director of the Seminary Co-op Bookstore and 57th Street Books
Walden Pond Books in Oakland, California — whose 92-year-old founder and owner Marshall Curatolo was still ringing up and shelving books until March 17, when he and his family closed the doors because of the COVID-19 outbreak.
"Since 1973, Walden Pond Books has fundraised for local schools and nonprofits, helped establish other small businesses and local independent bookstores, promoted Bay Area authors, created jobs and nurtured Oakland’s Grand Lake neighborhood. Generations have grown up in and around the bookstore, patrons and staff alike. Thanks to the support of our loyal customers and the community, the store has withstood competition from big-box bookstores, Amazon, and e-books. But now, as the COVID-19 public health emergency impacts small businesses week after week, Walden Pond Books really needs your help." —Cassie Curatolo, organizer
Did we miss your local bookstore's crowdfunding campaign? Email email@example.com and let us know.
Respectrum Books is located in Sussex, New Jersey. This location was misstated in an earlier version of this post.