The cynic knows the price of everything and the value of nothing.
—Oscar Wilde

We’re trying to do something important at MainStreetBooksOnline.com, and we hope you’ll be a part of our mission.

Main Street Books - Inside the storeWe are the online presence of a real-life independent bookstore in Orleans, Massachusetts. Our web site is primarily a straightforward place to buy books, music, and movies online, with a few things that make us unique. We not only give a discount (10%) on almost everything we sell, but we also contribute a percentage of our sales to charities at a level (10%) that no one else is even close to doing (at least not to our knowledge). We don’t offer shoes or washing machines for sale, and we won’t fill our web pages with advertisements or hype our products inordinately. Our commerce site is very pleasant to use and, most importantly, lets you do your own thinking. This idea of thinking for oneself, after all, is an enormously important concept in a free republic, the absolute hallmark of a vibrant democracy.

We think books are unique in the universe of things, and we believe they deserve special treatment. We love libraries, great and small, where books are sacred, and we like local independent bookstores, each with its own character, where you can meet and talk to other readers and pick up books and leaf through them to get a feel (literally) for what they’re about. These bookstores bring to mind images of the Athenian agora, where Socrates encouraged his followers to ask questions and to think independently. Each bookshop is (literally again!) a marketplace of ideas.

As to other alternatives you have, we know that you can shop from some online giants and cut out the “middleman,” but consider that these middlemen (and women) are essential to the economic and social fabric of society. They are the businesses that may employ you or your friends and neighbors, and that keep your communities’ downtowns healthy and thriving. If you shop online with us you’ll benefit from our discount, while still supporting an independent bookstore. And our charitable donation program is an important long-term commitment that we believe in and that our customers should feel good about supporting.

So, enjoy yourselves at MainStreetBooksOnline.com, do some shopping, tell others about us, and continue to be good citizens of the world. Thank you.

Further Reading:
The Marketplace of Ideas
A Bookstore Closes
IndieBoundIndieBound