• Zachary Petit

Indie Bookstores Box It Out With Amazon

With sales in the billions—and up 36% this year—Amazon’s Prime Day was an all-encompassing success for the company.

Great news for Amazon execs and shareholders—but decidedly less so for traditional independent retailers, such as bookstores. So as Prime Day kicked off, bookstores sent a message by rolling out the “Boxed Out” campaign across the U.S.

As the American Booksellers Association reports, 20% of independent shops are in dire straits—shops that provide three times the economic benefit of a chain, with 28% of revenue recirculating in the local economy (vs. Amazon’s 4%) … benefits that also come with a smaller carbon footprint.

As the ABA writes, “When these independent bookstores close, COVID will be listed as the cause of death, but the pre-existing condition for many may be listed as Amazon. The brown boxes that have become ubiquitous in building lobbies and on porches are ‘boxing out’ bookstores and other small businesses all across the country.”



The “Boxed Out” campaign was developed by DCX Growth Accelerator, and featured installations at McNally Jackson in Manhattan; Cafe con Libros, Community Bookstore and Greenlight Bookstore in Brooklyn; Book Soup in Los Angeles; and Solid State in Washington, DC. (DIY installations, meanwhile, are highly encouraged, and assets for everything from book wraps to posters and cardboard box designs can be found here.)

All told, the campaign gives physical form to an issue that perhaps remains abstract until you literally run into it in the street.

“People may not realize the cost and consequences of ‘convenience’ shopping until it's too late,” Allison K. Hill, CEO of ABA, says. “More than one indie bookstore a week has closed since the COVID-19 crisis began. Closed indie bookstores represent the loss of local jobs and local tax dollars; the loss of community centers; and the loss of opportunities for readers to discover books and connect with other readers in a meaningful face-to-face way.”

Not sure where your closest indie bookstore is? Not to worry: You can find out here.














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