Indie Bookstores Give Back This Holiday Season

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Booksellers nationwide are using the holiday season as an opportunity to give back to their local communities through donations and fundraising.

Take a look at the ways indie bookstores are giving back this year:

A copy of Women in Science: 50 Fearless Pioneers Who Changed the World

Auntie’s Bookstore in Spokane, Washington, has brought back its annual Angel Tree. The store recently posted on Instagram that one customer purchased a copy of Women in Science: 50 Fearless Pioneers Who Changed the World by Rachel Ignotofsky (Ten Speed Press) that a child requested.

A promotion from Mclean & Eakin where customers can get their photo taken with the Grinch.

Mclean & Eakin Booksellers in Petoskey, Michigan, encouraged readers to purchase a poem from the Petoskey High School. The store wrote in a Facebook post: “Get your face painted like the Grinch! Also don’t forget to buy a poem from the PHS English department, all proceeds are going to the Women’s Resource Center.”

A cat at the Novel Neighbor

Gateway Pet Guardians worked with The Novel Neighbor in Webster Groves, Missouri, to host its first annual Feline Navidad Donation Drive. Community members were encouraged to donate cat toys, wands, scratchers, and cat bowls.

Students at St. Louis Public Schools

Left Bank Books in St. Louis, Missouri, is hosting its 2018 Angel Tree Book Drive, which kicked off on Giving Tuesday, November 27. In a post on Facebook, the store announced that for this year, it is collecting books for English-language learners in St. Louis Public Schools.

A book-themed cake submitted to the 6th Annual Cake Auction at Northshire Bookstore

Northshire Bookstore in Manchester, Vermont, hosted its 6th Annual Cake Auction, a benefit to their Book Angel Program, on Friday, December 7. The auction featured a wine and cheese reception, book-themed cakes, and an author event with Food Network’s Gesine Bullock-Prado.

Story Time with Drag Queens at Women & Children First

From November 30 to December 14, Women & Children First in Chicago, Illinois, is working with the Care for Real Toy Drive. The store is accepting dolls, cars, backpacks, legos, puzzles, paint sets, crafts, movie passes, cold-weather gear, and personal care items. The store also recently held a kick-off event for its SitStayRead Wishing Tree Donation Drive, which featured a story time with drag queens.

Book Passage's Giving Tree.

In its November newsletter, the Northern California Independent Booksellers Association shared that Book Passage in San Francisco, California, observed its first-annual “Thank You Thursday,” a card-writing event. “Small-business card companies provided donations, and staff provided postage,” NCIBA wrote. “Among the recipients: Ruth Bader Ginsburg received a number of get well wishes with thanks for her work!The store also set up its annual giving trees.

Skylight Bookstore's bookstore cat.

Skylight Books in Los Angeles, California, is inviting volunteers to gift wrap at their store. Volunteers are set up with a tip jar to collect money for the charity, school, or nonprofit organization of their choice. In November, Skylight Books also hosted LUXE Paws outside of their store to raise money for their rescue cats and kittens. 

A Giving Tree at Second Flight Books.

Second Flight Books in Lafayette, Indiana, has their Giving Tree set up for a second season. The store posted to Facebook: “With the holiday season upon us, we’ve got our Giving Tree up for the second season. All the cards are book requests from area teachers; buy one and we’ll give you a coupon for your next visit.”

A donation box for books at Zenith Bookstore.

Zenith Bookstore in Duluth, Minnesota, posted to Facebook that they are a book drop location for Grandmothers for Peace, an organization collecting books and art supplies for children in need during the holidays.

A Book Angel promotion at Anderson's Bookshop

In addition to their Book Angel program, Anderson’s Bookshop’s Naperville location hosted a 4-Gifts-4-The-Holidays promotion. “This year, shop for a special child in your life with a simpler list,” the store wrote in a Facebook post. “Something they want, something they need, something to wear, and something to read; and we’ll make a donation to Loaves & Fishes when you do!”

A holiday decoration at Harvard Book Store.

Harvard Book Store in Cambridge, Massachusetts, is donating a portion of all in-store and online sales to local charities 826 Boston, Community Cooks, and On The Rise.

The Adopt-A-Reader informational cards at The Bookloft

The Bookloft in Great Barrington, Massachusetts, is hosting an Adopt-A-Reader program, which provides a year of books to a child in need through customer donations.