Since Thursday, a range of bookstores have announced temporary closings because of the pandemic. Among them:
Powell's Books is closing its five stores in and near Portland, Ore., through March 31, at which time the company will evaluate whether to extend the closure. Powells.com will ontinue operations. In announcing the change, president and owner Emily Powell said in part that "we feel that we cannot honor the social distancing guidelines presented by the CDC."
The Strand Bookstore, New York, N.Y., is closing "for the time being" in an effort "to put the safety and welfare of our employees, our customers, and our community first." In its announcement, the store promised regular updates and concluded, "Be safe. And we hope you find solace in one of the books on your bookshelf."
WORD Bookstores in Brooklyn, N.Y., and Jersey City, N.J., are closed today and WORD said in an announcement to customers that it "will monitor the situation daily and keep you posted if anything changes. This will allow us to keep our staff busy and safe." It added: "We have plenty of books, puzzles and games in stock to keep you and your family busy (including our homeWORDbound Mystery Boxes.) So please don't be shy. Our amazing staff is ready and waiting to help you get through this."
Riffraff, the bookstore and bar in Providence, R.I., said that it is closing, effective today, "for who knows how long." Owners Emma Ramadan and Tom Roberge described the situation as "painful and precarious... We feel a moral imperative to close Riffraff for the sake of the greater community, and are disappointed that the government has not taken a stronger response or offered any tangible assistance to small businesses. It puts the burden on us and others to decide how best to proceed."
The Doylestown and Lahaska Bookshops in Doylestown and Lahaska, Pa., closed yesterday until March 29 or "until otherwise notified."
Literati Bookstore, Ann Arbor, Mich., has closed "indefinitely, effective immediately. We are concerned about our community and our staff safety. We will continue to fulfill web orders at this time at LiteratiBookstore.com with $1 shipping. Your support online helps us immeasurably. Please stay tuned to social media and our newsletter for updates to come."
Joelle Herr, owner of the Bookshop, East Nashville, Tenn., has decided to temporarily suspend the store's regular hours, noting on Facebook: "Today was a busy day--TOO busy. While a bustling, packed shop usually makes me giddy, today it made me anxious. Your health and safety--along with that of my booksellers--is priority #1.... Thank you for your support and understanding during these Station Eleven-ish days. This was a difficult decision but most definitely the right one."
Harvard Book Store, Cambridge, Mass., is closing through March 28, but "staff will continue 'behind the scenes' during this time, fulfilling online (harvard.com) and phone orders, recommending books online and by phone, and brainstorming creative ways to safely have our community access the books and book knowledge of Harvard Book Store and its staff," general manager Alex W. Meriwether said in an e-mail to customers. "We feel we must do our part to 'flatten the curve' while fulfilling our mission--to the best of our ability during uncertain times--to provide books to our customers, in a safe and responsible manner, and to support the community in any ways that we can."
Wellesley Books, Wellesley, Mass., is closing through March 29, but like many stores, will continue offering a variety of online and delivery services. "As always," the store wrote, "we deeply appreciate your continuing support as we all move together through this difficult time. Stay safe and stay healthy."
Newtonville Books, Newton, Mass., posted on Facebook: "Customers often liken the bookstore to a community center, an emblem we endeavor to earn and take pride in. But in this specific instance, the idea of a community center is a liability in terms of virus spread. So for that reason, Newtonville Books is now closed for the rest of March and, like the rest of the world, we'll take it day by day after that. Thanks for your understanding and patience about this. We didn't undertake the decision lightly, but public health is too important to us."
Avid Bookshop, Athens, Ga., is closing through March 29. In addition to mentioning the many ways it will continue to serve customers, the store wrote: "We have so many creative ideas on how we're going to continue to share our love for reading and Athens while staying safe. Be on the lookout for some fun surprises!"
Noting that the store "had a great weekend," Books to Be Red, Ocracoke, N.C., wrote: "I thank everyone that came in to say hello and support my shop and the island. I am heartbroken to say that I am going to close my shop while we are dealing with the COVID-19 virus. Maybe this should have been an easy decision to make but it has not been. We are all dealing with fallout from the virus and we are all making sacrifices. I do hope to be able to re-open within the next couple of weeks. Thank you for understanding."
Word Up Community Bookshop/Librería Comunitaria in the Washington Heights neighborhood of New York City will be closed until at least March 31, and all events scheduled through April 13 have been canceled or postponed. In a message to community members, founder Veronica Liu encouraged customers to consider buying books from the store's website or joining its membership program. Liu, who has done a lot of work this spring getting the word out about the 2020 Census, also reminded community members that they can now take the census online, even while social distancing.
This weekend, Papercuts JP in Jamaica Plain, Mass., was open for only limited hours and going forward will be open by appointment only, which shoppers can arrange by phone or via e-mail. In the meantime, customers can still buy books from the store's website as well as audiobooks through Libro.fm. In an e-mail to customers announcing the change, owner Kate Layte wrote: "Please look out for one another. Please look out for your friends and neighbors. If there is a particular need that you have and you don't know where to look, please reach out to us and we will do our best to point you in the right direction."
Bookends & Beginnings in Evanston, Ill., has temporarily suspended its in-store business. At the same time, owner Nina Barrett and her team are now offering $1 same day delivery on any size order to customers in Evanston and three other nearby communities, and will continue to offer 99¢ shipping to anywhere in the continental U.S., which is a policy that Barrett implemented just last week. And with many people home from work and school, Barrett is increasing her inventory of puzzles, games, flash cards, activity books and other sidelines. To help ride things out smoothly, Barrett is hoping to have 20-25 customers per day place an average order of $50, and is looking to enlist her community's help.
Solid State Books, Washington, D.C., is closing "indefinitely," but plans to be on call at the store from 10-6 every day. "This is not a decision that we've made lightly, as we cherish the role we play as a community hub and third place, and because our business depends so heavily upon foot traffic, but we feel it is the responsible step to take as we all attempt to practice 'social distancing.' We hope to reopen in a week or two, but do not have an exact date in mind at this point."
Reads & Company, Phoenixville, Pa., has decided "to take the financial hit and close our storefront" through March 29 because "We want to do our part to keep you safe. We want to keep our staff safe. We want to keep our families healthy. We want you to stay home. Take care of each other. Read to each other, especially to kids. Let the kids read to you. And remember to take care of yourself too." The store concluded: "All in this together. Our community. Always on our mind. Always."
Between the Covers, Harbor Springs, Mich., is closing temporarily because of what owner Katie Capaldi called "many factors working against us," including that for much of the staff, "it is not advisable to work due to recent travel, chronic health concerns, or because of their roles as caretakers for elderly parents" and because Capaldi brings "a 14-month old toddler to work."
For Capaldi, "Ultimately, however, it came down to this: which bad decision would I rather make? Close for a week or more and lose some of our bottom line, or remain open and know that we potentially contributed to the spread of this pandemic? My conscience chose the former."