I have a well-documented history of not buying a lot of physical books (check out my post about hitting a zero TBR here), and I’ve always been kind of averse to sharing book hauls for a number of reasons. But as bookstores face harder and harder times, I’ve been trying to do what I can to support them, and I thought it’d be fun to share some of my purchases here!
I was hoping to wait and post this once I got more of my books, but, well, the mail is super slow right now. Which I’m totally fine with! But because I have no idea when some of these books will show up, I figured I’d go ahead and post it with the pictures I do have.
Love’s Sweet Arrow
You knew the romance bookstores were going to show up in this post! One of my very first purchases when I started buying books was from Chicago-based Love’s Sweet Arrow. I was planning to pick up a finished copy of The Prince of Broadway by Joanna Shupe at KissCon after reading an arc (check out my review here), but wound up deciding to just buy it at Love’s Sweet Arrow, along with a paperback copy of The Lady’s Guide to Celestial Mechanics by Olivia Waite, which I read a kindle copy of and needed to put on my shelves. I didn’t stop there, though! I also figured now was a great time to go back and finish buying the Psy/Changeling books, so I added copies of Visions of Heat and Kiss of Snow to my cart. I’m so excited to get all of these books!
Also, I placed this order well before the pandemic, but I’m excited to get a copy of Deal with the Devil by Kit Rocha from Love’s Sweet Arrow! Unfortunately, this title got pushed back until July, but that means you have more time to preorder your own copy and take advantage of the preorder offer to get signed book plates and other goodies with your book!
(UPDATE: Working on this post made me place another order! I bought His at Night by Sherry Thomas and A Duke in the Night and Last Night with the Earl by Kelly Bowen.)
The Ripped Bodice
When I first started putting together my order for Los Angeles-based The Ripped Bodice, the other romance book store I wanted to make sure and support, I was initially thinking of taking advantage of these really cool care packages they’re putting together. I wound up deciding that wasn’t quite what I wanted, though, and instead bought a stack of books!
Similarly to Love’s Sweet Arrow, I decided to take advantage of the opportunity to buy books I had been planning to pick up at KissCon. I bought a finished copy of Chasing Cassandra by Lisa Kleypas (check out my review here) and preordered copies of Girl Gone Viral by Alisha Rai and First Comes Scandal by Julia Quinn (reviews for both can be found here). And to round out my order, I picked up another Psy/Changeling book, finally adding Heart of Obsidian to my collection.
I haven’t shopped much at Malaprop’s Bookstore, which is based in North Carolina, but I have placed an order there before because it’s Jennifer Estep’s home bookstore. As soon as I realized KissCon probably wasn’t happening, I preordered a copy of Crush the King there so I could get it signed and personalized (I have a review up here). Unfortunately, they weren’t able to get it signed for me, but I went ahead with the order anyways, and they were kind enough to drop in a signed bookplate and some other goodies for me! Not pictured are the bookmarks I found inside the book after I took the picture.
Barnes & Noble
I normally do a lot of my book shopping at Barnes & Noble, and in fact just placed a big order in February in anticipation of KissCon (these were non-Avon books that I was hoping to get signed and knew I couldn’t buy at the event). Since the pandemic has shut down bookstores, I’ve mostly been relying on Barnes & Noble to supply me with puzzles. My first order I was able to snag two puzzles that I’d been wanting, and I added a copy of The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson to my cart to make the order more worth workers’ time to send. Of course, all three items in my order wound up shipping separately, but I tried. The second order was three more puzzles by the same brand as one of the first puzzles I bought; I like the quality enough that I don’t care too much what the puzzle is of, especially since they’re so scarce it’s hard to be picky right now. Fortunately, all three of those shipped together!
As it happens, I forgot about a few preorders from Barnes & Noble. A copy of Starbreaker by Amanda Bouchet has since shown up in the mail, and when I went to buy a copy of A Duke by Any Other Name by Grace Burrowes, I realized I already had that preordered, too!
The King’s English Bookshop
I’ve never shopped at the Utah-based King’s English Bookshop before, but Mackenzi Lee works there and I enjoy following her on Instagram. So when I saw that she was commenting and drawing on other author’s books and having a lot of fun with it, I decided I to place my own order! I took the opportunity to buy a physical copy of The Gentleman’s Guide to Getting Lucky by Mackenzi Lee, as well as to finally pick up a copy of The History of the World in Fifty Dogs by Mackenzi Lee. I loved her illustrated Bygone Badass Broads book, and I’m excited to get another beautifully illustrated history book!
Of course, the fun part is to have her grafitti other books! And since Lee always does such a great job promoting LGBTQ+ books, I made it a point to buy LGBTQ+ books myself. I’ve been meaning to read Darius the Great is Not Ok by Adib Khorram for ages and think this is the kind of YA book I’ll really like, so I picked that up. And I’m not sure what possessed me, but I decided to buy a few graphic novels! I purchased Check, Please by Ngozi Ukazu, an apparently adorable comic about a college freshman hockey player who’s crushing on his moody captain, and Fence Volume 1 by C.S. Pacat, which takes place in the world of competitive fencing. I’m actually really excited for these, as I think graphic novels might be another excellent pandemic read.
Since I placed my order, though, I’ve seen a lot of authors point out how inappropriate it is for another author to sign their books, particularly in this Twitter thread. I really saw it more as graffiti (requested by readers) rather than a signing, and I feel really bad that I never thought about this context before, especially since I would never ask an author to sign another author’s book in person. I’m torn because I think it was fun-spirited and got a lot of book sales for The King’s English Bookshop. But I definitely understand why authors are upset, especially when different power dynamics came into play, and agree that the title page should have been left alone at the very least. The whole thing is upsetting and I hate that it hurt authors.
And of course, someone on the bookstore’s Twitter account went on a spree leaving a bunch of awful replies to people questioning their involvement in the whole thing. One of the bookstore owners has since apologized and the tweets have been deleted (though I’m sure you can still find screenshots), but I was looking forward to supporting The King’s English Bookshop with my order, and now I have a really sour taste in my mouth and don’t particularly want to buy from them again. Fortunately, there are lots of great bookstores out there, as you can tell from this post!
Bank Square Books
I made a purchase from Rhode Island-based Bank Square Books after Eloisa James announced she was partnering with it for Bookstore Romance Day. In addition to preordering a copy of Say Yes to the Duke by Eloisa James, which comes with a signed book plate, I bought a physical copy of A Duke in the Night by Kelly Bowen, which I read a library copy of and really enjoyed! Unfortunately, they weren’t able to get A Duke in the Night from their warehouse, but they were able to swap it out for a later book in the series, A Rogue by Night, so I’m excited to get that next month!
If you noticed that I bought a lot of books from various places that I’d been meaning to pick up at KissCon, you might have also realized that meant the bookstore supporting the event, Anderson’s Bookshop, missed out on a significant order from me. And you’d be right! I’m hopeful that I’ll still be able to buy several books at KissCon in August, but it definitely won’t be as many books as I was originally planning, and I’d say there’s a very high chance it won’t be happening in August anyways. I still wanted to make sure and support them, though, so I placed an order for some other books I wanted. I used the opportunity to round out the last of my Psy/Changeling collection, picking up copies of Blaze of Memory, Tangle of Need, and Allegiance of Honor. I’d also been meaning to buy The New Odyssey by Patrick Kinsley for literally years, so I finally went ahead and added a copy of that to my order.
While that’s the extent of my shopping so far, I definitely have plans to buy more! I will probably wind up preordering a copy of Daring and the Duke by Sarah MacLean from Word Bookstore — I would have done it already, but the shipping is almost as expensive as the book, even with media mail, and adding additional stuff to my cart doesn’t seem to make it more affordable per book, so I’ve been reluctant to hit the order button.
(UPDATE: I made myself ignore the cost of shipping and bought Daring and the Duke! I added The Devil of Downtown by Joanna Shupe to my cart, which comes out the same day and makes the shipping cost a little more bearable.)
I’m also planning to preorder Chaos Rising by Jessie Mihalik. She posted on Twitter that she’s thinking of doing some sort of preorder offer, so I’m just waiting to see if it’s tied to a specific bookstore or not.
And I want to place another order at The Ripped Bodice and Love’s Sweet Arrow to get physical copies of a few more romances I’d like to add to my shelves! Though I have to admit, I’m about through my list of physical books I want to buy.
What’s your favorite place to buy books? Let me know in the comments!