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Support Indie Bookstores With Your Holiday Shopping

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Illustration for article titled Support Indie Bookstores With Your Holiday Shopping

Photo: Logan Bush (Shutterstock)

The pandemic hasn’t been kind to independent bookstores. While indies have handled competition from Amazon and big-box sellers relatively well in recent years, having to shut their doors due to COVID-19 and respond to customers’ desire for online ordering has not been easy—and despite the American Association of Publishing noting steady book sales amid the pandemic, bookstore sales dropped 30.7 percent in August, according to industry newsletter Shelf Awareness. If you want to keep indie bookstores alive, consider directing some of your holiday gift-buying budget toward your local independent bookseller. We’ve rounded up a number of ways you can support indies this season.

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Heads up, though: if you are going to gift books and book-related items, start shopping and ordering now. Indie booksellers can always use your support—and ordering earlier can help them manage their inventory and meet demand ahead of the holidays.

Order directly from your local indie

Some booksellers responded to the pandemic by setting up shop online and offering pickup, local delivery, or both. Search for indie bookshops in your neighborhood or city to find out what they’re doing. IndieCommerce has a directory of independent sellers that handle e-commerce.

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Shop on IndieBound or Bookshop

If you can’t easily get a book from a store up the street, try IndieBound or Bookshop instead of defaulting to Amazon. IndieBound has a zip code search that directs you to local booksellers that have your desired title(s) in stock, while Bookshop allows you to either select a local seller to receive 100% of the profit from your order or to put your money into a pool that’s distributed among member shops.

Note: IndieBound will also connect you to Bookshop if it can’t find titles in stock in your area. Twitter users have suggested that Bookshop’s shipping times are actually comparable to Amazon’s and that the customer service is (unsurprisingly) far better.

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Shop for non-book gifts

Many, if not most, indie bookstores sell more than just books. As writer Celeste Ng points out, you can order jigsaw puzzles, apparel, tote bags, and other book-adjacent gifts (coffee mugs with a literary quote, anyone?). Try to find all of your stocking stuffers–bookmarks, pens, magnets, socks—there too, along with your holiday cards.

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Gift a subscription to Libro.fm

If audiobooks are more your friends’ and family’s thing, gift them a membership to Libro.fm. The platform allows you to choose a local, independent bookstore to receive a cut of the profit from each subscription. You can also gift individual audiobooks.

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Gift an indie seller gift card

If you’re not sure about a gift recipient’s taste in books, send them a gift card to their local indie or your local indie.

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Put together DIY book packages

Get creative with your gift-giving with themed book and book-adjacent packages. This Twitter thread from author Rebecca Makkai has a long list of ideas, from a city-specific gift box to a food-and-book (wine-and-book?) pairing, to a book and film package from the recipient’s birth year. A few more we like:

  • Long-distance book club: Send the same book to a group of friends along with an invite to a Zoom gathering and a cocktail recipe card.
  • Cookbook and spice package: Gift your food-loving friends a cookbook plus any hard-to-find ingredients.
  • Free Little Library: Gift a Free Little Library box filled with wrapped books to a friend who has a yard.

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Many indies will wrap orders, too, so you can have items sent directly to friends and family.

Stop by for a cup of coffee

If your indie bookseller is open and serving coffee and food, stop in when you can (and follow all safety rules when you do).

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Conquer Your Pup’s Dander and Fur With $700 Off a Cobalt or Charcoal Bobsweep PetHair Plus Robot Vacuum

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Best Home DealsBest Home DealsThe best home, kitchen, smart home, and automotive deals from around the web, updated daily.

Bobsweep PetHair Plus Robot Vacuum & Mop (Cobalt) | $200 | Best Buy

Bobsweep PetHair Plus Robot Vacuum & Mop (Charcoal) | $200 | Best Buy

Allergies can be bad enough as the seasons change. Don’t let pet hair and dander add to that by vacuuming it up early and often. That chore is easier said than done— unless you have a robot vacuum to do the work for you. This lovely bright cobalt Bobsweep PetHair Plus robot vacuum and mop, only $200 today at Best Buy seems like an ideal option. That’s a whopping $700 off, by the way.

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You can get the same deal for the charcoal version of the robot vac, too. This model is not only specially made for picking up pet hair, it self docks and charges when it’s finished with the work.

It also comes with a mop attachment, so it can take care of those kitchen floors for you as well. Grab it while it’s still available for this fantastic price!

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Apple will replace AirPods Pro for free with faulty noise cancellation, static or crackling

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Today, exactly one year after Apple first launched the AirPods Pro — and thus the same day the very first AirPods Pro owners will see their one-year warranties expire — Apple has launched a repair program that offers free repairs or replacements for another whole year if your AirPods Pro experience issues with noise cancellation or static.

Specifically, Apple will fix:

Crackling or static sounds that increase in loud environments, with exercise or while talking on the phone

Active Noise Cancellation not working as expected, such as a loss of bass sound, or an increase in background sounds, such as street or airplane noise

Apple says only a “small percentage of AirPods Pro” are affected by the issues, but it apparently wasn’t just an early batch — Apple says affected units were manufactured “before October 2020,” meaning every AirPods Pro ever made might be eligible. That’s quite a recall if so. Apple says it will repair faulty AirPods Pro for two years after you first buy them.

We’ve heard complaints about degraded noise cancellation before, and at least one Verge editor has replaced their AirPods Pro under warranty. It’s nice to hear that Apple isn’t just cutting buyers off as soon as that warranty expires.

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This 55″ 4K TCL Smart TV Hangs on Your Wall for $200

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Best Tech DealsBest Tech DealsThe best tech deals from around the web, updated daily.

TCL 55″ S434 4K Smart TV | $200 | Best Buy

Best Buy has an insane deal going for a brand new 55″ 4K TCL smart TV. It’s the S434, which is pretty baseline for TCL’s lineup, but at just $200, there’s little to complain about. TCL’s panels are plenty sharp and accurate, and with this set, you’ll get HDR10 compliance for enhanced color and brightness in supported games and video content. This model has Android TV onboard for all your app needs, and with an included voice remote, all your favorite content is just a shout away with the help of Google Assistant.

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