I may be the last to the party here, but I recently discovered Indiebound, a cool site that helps people hook up with local bookstores. There’s a button on the front page that will find nearby bookstores if you enter your zip code. From there, you can get on those stores’ websites and support your local bookstore while buying books at 3 a.m.
It’s weird that this didn’t occur to me sooner. I’m a big believer in indie bookstores, and usually make a point of trying to go buy books in person from the stores I like. I was in Salem recently for a day trip and stopped by Cornerstone Books. I picked up a few things there and asked about a book they didn’t have in stock. The clerk suggested I order it later from their website. This idea seemed strange to me, but the more I think about it, the more I wonder why it never occurred to me.
Ordering books from closer to home does make sense when I think about it. Harvard Book Store, which is closer to me than Cornerstone, recently introduced bicycle deliveries, which I think is a neat idea (I haven’t tried it yet).
One thing I’ve realized about ordering online from indie bookstores is that I still get some of that indie flavor. Harvard Book Store’s site, for example, includes loads of staff recommendations that give a flavor of the store. Compare them, for example, with the staff recommendations at Brookline Booksmith, another local store. I had not realized that I could get that sort of local experience online. I feel a little slow here.