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How to Buy Alberta Books Online

…without using Amazon.

Here’s a handy guide on how to buy Alberta books online, in a way that best supports the local literary community. This is for the readers out there who want the ease of online purchasing, especially during the pandemic, but also want to put their dollars back into their community by helping local businesses. The great news is, these goals are not mutually exclusive and it is possible to have the best of both worlds. Here’s how:

1. Order from the website of your local, independent bookstore. 

Use Read Alberta’s handy Alberta bookseller map or browse our bookstore profiles to find your favourite store. Or, if you see a book that you like on the Read Alberta site, use our “shop local” button (provided courtesy of Bookmanager), which is located underneath each book cover, and input your postal code to be shown a list of your closest indie booksellers.

Most independent bookstores in Alberta have fantastic online bookstores, and many of them continue to offer shipping, free or inexpensive local deliveries, and/or pick-up options as pandemic restrictions are lifted.

Many people don’t realize that if your local bookstore doesn’t have the book you’re looking for, they will often do their utmost to special order it in for you, no matter how difficult to find or esoteric it might be. So if you don’t see the book you want listed on their website, don’t give up there. Contact the store directly to see whether they can source it for you.

Buying from independent bookstores supports a local business that is integral to the literary community, but also financially supports the publisher and/or distributor the bookstore is purchasing from at fair discounts, and the author they are promoting and who is getting royalties from the sale. So these purchases financially impact the entire local book community the best.

2. Order directly from the book publisher. 

Most of Alberta’s book publishers do direct sales on their websites, so if you’re having trouble finding the book in any stores, or don’t have access to a local bookstore, the publisher can likely get it to you. Start by checking out our Alberta publisher profiles.

3. Order from independent organizations that are supporting the Canadian book industry.

Try ordering from All Lit Up, which is the online bookstore of the Literary Press Group—a non-profit membership association of sixty independently owned and operated Canadian literary publishers, including several Alberta publishers.

Buying Alberta books online in a way that supports the local book industry may seem like a small act, but it never goes unnoticed, especially since these orders are often handled personally by someone who works in the industry.

Shop Local is a column all about supporting local, independent booksellers in Alberta.