How to Support Small Businesses Online Without Ever Really Trying
In an age dominated by huge, faceless corporations that deny basic rights to their employees, there’s never been a bigger push to shop independently. Small businesses are frequently better not just in terms of ethical principality, but in quality of product as well.
Aside from the obvious solution of shopping directly from the online storefronts of independent businesses (please definitely keep doing this), here are three alternatives to larger entertainment shopping.
A quick note: I do include links to each of the sites listed below, but I am not sponsored by them nor have I been asked to promote them. I am providing these recommendations independently; the only incentive I have is helping people, and the only referral link included, for Libro.fm, is done without compensation beyond what I describe below. Thanks!
Libro.fm is an audiobook listening service. It’s got many of the same titles as Audible (as well as some originals), a simple-to-use but totally optional subscription service (yes, you can have an account without paying for it), and competitive prices.
What to know what makes it different? With Libro.fm, every audiobook you purchase supports your local independent bookseller! You can choose exactly who your purchase supports when you sign up and change it at any time.
If you do feel like signing up for the paid account, although again, you don’t need to, you can sign up using my referral link here and get a free audiobook. (It also gives me one, so thank you, if you choose to do this!)
As a writer, there’s one thing I do more than anything else. That’s right: ignore my responsibilities and read. And if I can support my habit while helping small booksellers, I 100% will. Usually, that would mean going out to my local bookstore and buying from them, but because of…well, everything lately, I’ve had to find online alternatives.
That’s where Bookshop.org comes in. Bookshop is an online book marketplace that supports independent bookstores. You can either choose to support an individual business from their network or make your purchase through them and allow your money to be distributed among multiple stores, meaning you can support multiple small businesses in one go.
You can create a free account and check it out here.
This one isn’t small business specific, but it is a way to do good in the world. Humble Bundle is a fantastic way to support amazing causes while getting some seriously good content at a huge discount. Founded in 2010, Humble Bundle offers — as the name implies — bundles of software, games, books, and other digital content, put together with themes ranging from game development to manga to social change and more.
Another awesome thing about the bundles is that you can choose what you pay for them. Usually, the minimum is somewhere around $8 (though some go as low as $1), and you can get access to the full bundle for $15 or more. I recently bought their (sadly no longer available) fandom bundle, which included tons of fun books that I’ve still yet to get through!
Each purchase goes toward a charity matched to the theme of the bundle, including Games Aid, the American Red Cross, Make-A-Wish, Save the Children, and more.
You can explore the bundles here.
Supporting Small Businesses Through the Pandemic
Being the daughter of a small business owner, I will always support independent retailers when given the option because I know firsthand how difficult it is. I’ve seen the struggle to support yourself when customers are thin and large corporate automation threatens to take them all from you, and what the pandemic looks like behind the counter.
Now more than ever, businesses run by small teams are struggling to make ends meet, and we aren’t able to support them by going to them; we have to find ways to make them come to us.