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Indie Bookstore Morale Boost!

Support Your Indie Bookstore Sticker

This week has been rough.

As many of you already know, the indie bookstore where I work, Tattered Cover, has announced that it has filed for chapter eleven and will be closing three stores. My location is not closing, however, it has been a very difficult week. Many of my coworkers have been with the company for decades, and they are close with the employees at the affected stores. I feel not only my own emotions, but also the emotions of my coworkers.

We are feeling sad, angry, worried, and frustrated. There is a huge sense of loss.

There is hope that with a restructuring under chapter eleven, we will be able to save the remaining four stores. We also hope that it will save a fifty-two year old company, which was, at one time, one of the most prominent indie bookstores in the United States.

I created Books Inside Boxes when we closed the Tattered Cover's mall location last spring. My subscription box idea was born out of the unexpected sense of grief that I felt from closing our store, primarily from losing the community we had built around our customers. Bookstores are not just a retail businesses, they are also a community. We had many elderly mall walkers and teenage customers, for some of them, that mall location was the only indie bookstore that they could easily visit. The loss was real.

Running an indie bookstore is not an easy business. It is often a labor of love, rather than something with a great financial reward. I belong to an Facebook group for indie bookstore owners/booksellers. I see posts everyday that reveal this struggle, morale is low. This is compounded by people who visit stores to start arguments over banned books or those who loudly proclaim that they will buy it on Amazon.

I'm writing this to remind everyone that it is important to support the small businesses that you love. This isn't only about indie bookstores, but any small business. If you value it, support it. This doesn't mean that you need to spend all of your money there or that you can't shop at bigger stores. Just please find the balance.

Support doesn't always have to be financial. Money is tight for many, especially for extras like books or eating out. However, your support can also be free. Please consider sharing your favorite stores on social media or writing a positive Google review. These little steps can mean more than you imagine.

Yesterday, I heard about something incredible on the Facebook indie bookstore page. Several stores, scattered around the US, had received an anonymous thank you note in the mail. Just thanking them for existing and selling books. This kind and unexpected gesture was a huge morale boast to many. I'm not sure if Tattered Cover was sent a note, we sure could have used it this week, but even so, I felt joy for knowing someone did this.

You don't need to send anonymous notes, but if you visit a small business that you love, please tell them that you appreciate them. Obviously, they are a business and they need to make sales, but something simple as a word of appreciation can be a huge boost and validation on a hard day.

Thank you for supporting Books Inside Boxes. Thank you for valuing indie bookstores and other small businesses.

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