Bookstores sell books and book-adjacent items, of course. But they also may serve as editorial offices, publishing houses, classrooms, and lecture halls, not to mention cafés, play spaces, and reading rooms. Sites of collaboration and exchange, bookstores, like libraries, can help hold a community together. When you support local bookstores, you not only boost up the local economy, you also support their role as a safe haven, livelihood, and place to connect, because in the end, bookstores are not just shelves with books on them. The real heart of bookstores lies in the people that own, run, and use them.