Indie Bookstores in North Dakota

Indie bookstores in North Dakota are open for business — even in a pandemic. They’re getting creative, offering curbside pickup, front door delivery service, and personal shopping for gifts and care packages so we can all shop responsibility and practice social distancing. (And yes, it’s totally acceptable to give a care package to yourself. You’ve earned it. We’ve all earned it.)

You can also order titles you want and they’ll ship them to you. If there’s not an indie bookstore near you, please consider supporting one of my favorites.

Purchasing from an indie bookstore helps support a local business during these crazy times. And you’ll get to enjoy new books, toys, pretty stationary, music, and puzzles, so you’ll come out of this social distancing experiment a little more at ease. If you want to help, but don’t necessarily want to shop (even virtually) right now, you can purchase gift certificates for yourself for later or to give as a gift.

Here’s an overview of five of my favorite indie bookstore in North Dakota and how they’re adjusting to current challenges.

Reader recommendations at Ferguson Books in Bismarck. Photo from Ferguson Books

Ferguson Books and More in Grand Forks and Bismarck

The two Ferguson Books locations are quite different, but when you shop at one location, you can access the inventory at both stores. The Grand Forks location is large and resides in a mall, while the Bismarck branch is more intimate and located downtown. Both shops boast a tight-knit staff of book fans and a broad selection of new and used titles.

They’re offering a very cool “Book a Week” punchcard that gets you a different title for 12 weeks for just $85. I love the idea of using this strange time in history to start a regular weekly reading habit. You can also score six books for $6, the perfect deal for quarantine binge readers on a budget. Ferguson Books offers book delivery, curbside pickup and mail order too.

They’re also doing book donations to retirement homes, hospitals and nursing homes so the residents, patients and staff can enjoy them. That’s exactly the kind of feel-good story I want to hear more of.

Main Street Books in Minot

This Minot shop’s tagline is “Warm fuzzies with every purchase” and I think it accomplishes that, even if you can’t physically go into the shop. Main Street Books has a great selection of new and used books, thoughtful and quirky gifts and a kids toy and book section that rivals some toy stores. The Facebook page features storytime Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays at 11 a.m. Central.

They’re taking advantage of all of their offerings by featuring cool promotions like make your own Easter baskets, an option you can extend to include any kind of gift basket or box, including birthdays, anniversaries, self-care or just because. Staff members have a good eye, a sharp wit and a knack for putting together engaging in-store displays, so I trust their personal shopping judgement completely.

The shop also offers curbside pickup, shipping and home delivery. If they have a book in stock, it’ll say “On Our Shelves Now.” If it’s not in stock, it’ll ship in one to five days.

Tea and encouragement from Zandbroz Variety. Photo provided by Zandbroz Variety.

Zandbroz Variety

I genuinely miss browsing the carefully curated shelves and constantly changing window displays at Zandbroz Variety in downtown Fargo. This shop has the atmosphere of an old fashioned drug store, but it’s packed with artful offerings, including clever gifts, educational and vintage toys, housewares, music, beauty products, jewelry, and impossibly pretty stationary, cards, and paper products. And of course, there’s an excellent selection of books. It’s my go-to when I’m looking for something by a regional author.

The Zandbroz crew are currently acting as personal shoppers even more than usual, which is great because they’re gifted at putting together care packages and gift baskets on a variety of themes. (The shop is especially well stocked with culinary, literary, beauty, and relaxation/self-care goodies.) There are also a lot of snarky or funny gifts for when you or someone you love needs a little humor.

Orders are available via curbside pickup, delivery, or by mail. They’re also offering a gift certificate package that includes other small businesses on their block (Stabo Scandinavian Imports, Boots and Heels, and Unglued, which features art and handmade gifts), so you can help support other local shops as well.

Books on Broadway

Books on Broadway in Williston is part bookstore, part coffee shop, and part community gathering place. It stocks a bit of everything, but I remember the kids section, and the variety of regional and western titles as being especially interesting. And since people can’t physically gather at the moment, the staff is finding creative ways to keep their customers connected.

You can always have books shipped to you from Books on Broadway. During the pandemic, the store has expanded to include curbside pickup for both books and carry-out coffee, muffins and other baked goods, so locals can keep up with their reading lists and get their caffeine and sugar fix.

The shop’s Facebook page also features performances, like a recent recording of guitarist and cowboy poet D.W. Groethe. Like the city and the bookstore, offerings often have a western flair.

What about you?
What are you reading right now?
What’s your favorite indie book store?
Why do you like indie book stores?
How are you supporting small businesses (not just indie bookstores) in this strange time?

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Alicia Underlee Nelson

2 Comments

    • Me too! I’m happy to see that they’re still operating.

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