There is something that is magical about stepping into a bookstore, especially the local ones. For booklovers like myself, it’s a place where nothing can go wrong and you can just indulge in your love for reading.
However, the pandemic has changed the way that we shop for books, like it has for most things.
With the rise of Amazon, it is easier now more than ever before to get a book. All readers have to do is simply type the title in, and it will arrive at your doorstep in a few days. This is easy yes. But, this has hurt the local bookseller industry in more ways than ever predicted.
On Friday, the owner of the Strand Bookstore in New York City took to social media on Friday to let followers know that revenues for the beloved store were down 70 percent and asked for help. And, if you are a booklover, you know that the Strand is a booklover’s heaven.
According to a New York Times Article entitled The Strand Calls for Help and Book Lovers Answer, that cry for help boosted business tremendously. The article states that there were 100,000 online orders on Saturday. The article then went onto state that Saturday was the best day in October in the flagship store, and the best day that the Upper West Side branch ever had.
However, many other independent booksellers were not so lucky. The article also reported that more than one independent bookstore has closed every week since the pandemic began.
Of course, book sales have gone up in 2020. Since more readers are home, more readers are reading more books. But, as I said earlier, they are probably purchasing online. Which makes sense, if you’re not leaving the house as much as you used to. Due to the demand of online book sales, more and more independent booksellers have since converted online as well in the efforts to keep their businesses afloat during the pandemic.
So, what can readers do?
Like most things this holiday season, buy local. And, if you want a book, refrain from buying it from Target and Amazon, and instead buy it online if you can’t make the trip.
In Connecticut, we have a huge variety of local booksellers, including: Hickory Stick Bookstore in Washington, R.J. Julia in Madison and Middletown, and Elm Street Books in New Canaan. All of these have the ability to ship to your door – just like Amazon does.
Furthermore, another way to help out is simply ask for giftcards to your favorite local store. This is a booklover’s dream, simply because you can get whatever book you want.
Do you have an e-reader?
There is so many other ways to support local bookshops as well. You can simply buy their merchandise as gifts, and for yourself.
I am a believer that any little bit helps.
As we prepare to enter in the 2020 holiday season, I highly recommend that you do what you can to support these local bookstores however you can.