Last week we shared a story about how Powell’s Books is scraping by and rehiring employees with the support of online book sales. A new app called “Save Your Bookstore” is helping other independent sellers stay in business to make it easier for people to locate and support their local bookstore.
The app was created by book-lover Aakanksha Gaur with the help of crowdsourcing from her Instagram followers. Her page, ShelfJoy, contains images of independent bookstores which inspired the new app.
The app offers a virtual map of independent bookstores in users’ neighborhoods, but it offers much more than just location and store hours. The interface also holds details about online order and shipping policies, social media pages, and gift card availability. There are more than 500 stores listed in the app. Most are in the UK and US, but there are listings in cities all around the world. Gaur aims to eventually include all 2,500 independent US bookstores in the interface.
Many independent bookstores are already feeling the strain of COVID-19’s economic impacts. The Strand in New York City was forced to undergo its first layoff in its 93-year history. Others are relying heavily on community support and organizations such as Bookshop.org, a start-up which donates a portion of its profits to independent bookstores.
This global pandemic is impacting communities in unprecedented ways, but it is also an opportunity to rally around the power of small business support. Download Save Your Bookstore or call your local bookstore to find ways to support small sellers in your area.