7 Unique Gifts That Support Independent Bookstores

published Nov 18, 2021
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Whether you’ve started holiday shopping or not, know that it’s helpful to independent stores if you order in advance and be patient as they continue to navigate the pandemic and increased online order demand.

Pair any of these gifts with a book from the store too, and if you’re wondering what to buy, all of these booksellers would be happy to chat with you over the phone and recommend a few good titles. That kind of personal touch is just one of the benefits of shopping small.

Sweatshirt from Shelves Bookstore

For days they want to curl up with a book in something comfy, this sweatshirt (available in maroon or teal) is the perfect fit. The purchase supports Shelves Bookstore in Charlotte, NC, an online and pop-up bookstore that partners with local businesses in the area to establish a brick-and-mortar presence, host events and readings, and connect with the comunity.

Mug from Left Bank Books

If they’re a fan of the library, they’ll love this nostalgic, oversized mug that calls back to the iconic library note cards. Left Bank Books was founded by graduate students at Washington University, and now operates as the oldest and largest indie bookstore in St. Louis. They host more than 300 free, public events per year, and have reinvested in their community through The Left Bank Books Foundation, which is dedicated to promoting literacy and literary arts throughout St. Louis.

Bookends from Twenty Stories

These may actually be the perfect bookend. They’re sturdy enough to hold up thick volumes (like cookbooks or extensive biographies) and they’re thin so they don’t take up space on a packed bookshelf. Though Twenty Stories was originally established in LA, the store now operates in Providence, RI, as well as out of a mobile bookstore that pops up across different locations during warmer seasons. 

Candle from One More Page Books

One More Page (the perfect name) is based in Arlington, VA, was founded in 2011 by Eileen McGervey, who stocked her store with her favorite things: books, wine, and chocolate. But there are plenty of other fun gifts, and maybe one of these literary-inspired candles will serendipitously match with your friend’s favorite book. Or, you could deliberately pair a candle with the book you know they’ve never read (but have been meaning to, of course). Gabriel García Márquez’s “One Hundred Years of Solitude” is that kind of book. 

Coffee Set from Epilogue Books

Books and coffee are the perfect pair, which makes this gift extra-special for an avid bookworm. They guarantee a good cup of coffee with this gift set, which includes three housemade syrups, whole-bean coffee, and a mug from Epilogue, a book cafe in Chapel Hill, NC. Epilogue promotes “a community atmosphere where you can find a book while enjoying craft brews, a glass of wine, or churros and a cup of chocolate.” Sounds like paradise

Puzzle from Whistlestop Bookshop

Whistlestop Bookshop might have the best selection of puzzles of any indie bookstore. Based in Carlisle, PA, Whistlestop has a ton of options for really serious puzzlers (we’re equating “serious puzzlers” with “1,000-piece puzzles” here). There are plenty of bookish options, like this “A Day at the Bookstore” puzzle by artist Michael Storrings, or you can find one that fits their other interests (with options covering art, history, and science).

Illustrated Cookbook from Brave and Kind Books

Brave and Kind is a thoughtfully curated Black-owned kids bookstore in Georgia that stocks a range of books, activities and accessories to inspire and educate young readers. If you have a little bookworm, they might like this illustrated cookbook with dishes they can try from around the world.