Did you know you could buy books from an online bookstore in France and support your local shops? Immersing oneself in a book is a great way to pass the time, escape the lockdown reality, and travel away. Book sales went up during the first lockdown, and the main winner was Amazon whereas the small local bookshops suffered a great deal! Buying online has become a habit for many of us, and even more when we are forced to stay at home. Finding convenient ways to consume is useful but finding ethical and convenient ways to consume is even better! Let’s find out how we can keep buying our books online and still support our local bookstore.
Books are the same price everywhere
We could wonder if buying from a bookstore in France would be more expensive than buying online on a website like Amazon that has the reputation of selling at a cheaper price. Well, it is not, at least in France! Since the Lang law from 1981 was established, the price of a book is decided by the editor and not the reseller. This means that the price is the same everywhere (except for special sales). This law was voted to protect culture in France and encourage bookshops to open all over the country. So the book price will be the same whether you buy it on Amazon or your online bookstore in France or directly at the shop. Great motivation right?
Support local businesses
Before I give you a list of websites where you can buy your books from online bookstores in France, I feel I still need to convince some resistants.
Some people may argue that it makes no difference to shop at Amazon or buy from a local business. Don’t get me wrong I do sometimes buy on Amazon when I don’t find another way or I didn’t organise myself in time. I will always at least try to find another way before buying on Amazon or other exclusively online platforms.
And this is why: I do like to feel life in the streets of my neighbourhood! We all realised how important this is when lockdown took it away the first time. Local businesses, local cafes, restaurants, book stores, repairs shops… bring a neighbourhood to life. If there is no client, there are no local businesses, this is as simple as that! In my opinion, making a purchase is a conscious act and “we vote with our wallet”.
So if we want to see the local shops open again after lockdown or as a general rule if we want our neighbourhood to become a supporting community, our city to be lively, let’s think twice and support our local businesses by buying their products and their books.
Click & collect and eBooks available
When buying your next books via an online bookstore in France you will usually have the following options:
- Buying a hard copy via click & collect
This means that you buy it online and you collect it in person at the store. Many bookstores remain open only to collect during the lockdown. Reach out to your bookshop or check their website to check if they offer this option. This service is also available outside of the lockdown period.
- Buying a hard copy and get it delivered at home
If you’d rather stay at home, many traditional bookshops will send your purchase by postal mail or delivery. So, you’ll only need to wait a few days or sometimes just 24h before starting reading your next novel. And of course, all the online bookstore platforms listed below offer home delivery.
Also, an extra motivation to choose to buy from an independent bookshop: the delivery is free during lockdown only!
- Buying an eBook via an independent online bookstore in France
If you have an eBook reader, you can buy the eBook version on any online bookstore platform. And therefore choose to buy it from an independent platform like the ones listed below. You mainly find the ePub format but it is very easy to convert it into PDF format if you need it, there are many software or online converters easy to use.
National online platforms
Leslibraires.fr is a network of about 400 independent bookstores nationwide which sell a large range of new, second-hand, or rare books.
You can see if the book you are looking for is available in the bookshop of your choice. You either choose the click & collect option or be delivered at home.
You can also discover new authors and books in their Advice section and get the bookseller review on the books.
This website was created by the French bookseller union, the Syndicat de la Librairie. It is considered the first book search engine in France with more than 1 000 independent bookshops listed. Other independent bookseller platforms, either nationwide or regional are also listed in this search engine, this makes it a great option to find the book you are looking for.
Its slogan says it all:
Lalibrairie.com was created in 2009 by an association of 2 500 independent booksellers spread over 750 cities in France and Belgium. The website presents itself as an alternative to Amazon but playing an important part in the local economy.
You will find more than 350 000 books on lalibrairie.com with bookseller reviews and advice.
You either choose the click & collect option or be delivered at home.
They sell books and eBooks in about 10 foreign languages. For sure you will find your next read in their selection!
Regional online platforms
This is an association of about 180 Parisian independent booksellers. The regions of Paris count the largest number of online book purchases in France when it also counts the largest number of bookshops! The Paris Librairies association created this website to give an opportunity to the Parisian readers to make a conscious purchase with their local bookstore but still online.
Librest (region of Paris)
Librest is 90 booksellers, 13 bookshops in the Grand Paris, mainly in the East side of Paris, and a mutualised stock of 350 000 books. They send your selection within 24h up to 48h with overnight delivery when possible. No plastic packaging with Librest but a kraft envelope to send your books in an environmentally friendly way.
You will find a foreign languages section to scroll and easily find your favourite books.
ALIP (Association Librairies Indépendantes Pays de la Loire)
26 independent bookshops from the Pays de la Loire region offer for sale more than 1,7 million books! You can buy it online and be delivered at home or pick it up at the bookshop of your choice from the 26 participating in the association.
Librairies Indépendantes en Nouvelle-Aquitaine
This association gathers about 100 booksellers from Poitou-Charentes, Limousin and Aquitaine. Like many platforms, the initial goal of the website is to be a search engine to find the nearest bookstore where to find your book. You can also buy your book online via the click & collect option.
I really like the few book reviews podcasts in French they started doing. I hope they will continue.
Chez mon libraire (Rhône-Alpes-Auvergne region)
This bookseller association from Rhône-Alpes-Auvergne lists more than 160 bookshops. Chez mon Libraire offers the click & collect option. You will also find many eBook options in English.
To keep in mind
Local bookstores take a big part in keeping the culture alive, and also our cities and smaller towns. Let’s support them by continuing to buy our books with them! Remember that in France, the prices are the same wherever you buy the book since the editor sets the price and not the reseller. This is a great opportunity to make a difference with an easy but meaningful purchase.
Another easy way to support your local bookshop is to share this article with your friends! Let’s share the local business love!