|At Bookmarks, Winston-Salem, N.C., store mascot Karl the Kraken picks up an order.|
In addition to services like free delivery and curbside pickup, many temporarily shuttered indie bookstores are finding innovative ways to serve their customers, spark engagement and keep lines of communication open during this challenging time.
In response to the suspension, for now, of in-person author events, Politics and Prose, Washington D.C., is introducing P&P Live "to keep the conversation going between authors and readers and reinforce our bonds as a community. Starting today with Michael Signer, you'll be able to watch P&P author talks live from your own house. While the rest of our March schedule of in-store events has been cancelled, we now plan to stream a number of author appearances online using the platform Crowdcast. These virtual events will follow the same format as the in-store ones did--that is, the author will speak first, then take questions from those watching. One benefit of this Internet set-up is that you won't have to be in the DC area to participate. Anyone with access to the Internet will be able to join in."
Trident Booksellers and Café, Boston, Mass., is offering a free ARC with food delivery or takeout, and recommended that customers "consider buying a gift card online as a gift for someone else stuck at home or to use when the Coronavirus is behind us. It's an easy way to support our independent business!"
"We are offering coffee, tea, and books TO GO!! Order at the window and one of our amazing staff will help you," BookBar, Denver, Colo., posted on Facebook. "Thank you to Conner and our regular Lila for participating in our impromptu photo shoot. And a big thank you to our community for all of your support. It is so so appreciated and it is making a difference. We love you."
"Home alone? Send us a letter. No kidding," Old Town Open Book, Warrenton, Va., posted on Facebook. "We'll reply. Hagrid the Bear will write to your kiddos but loneliness is a real thing and we're in this together. We love writing. We love writing to you. It will be lonely in the store too so really, write to me. Am I begging? Until we meet again."
Curious Iguana, Frederick, Md., expressed gratitude to the community for its concern and support "during these uncertain times. Here's one way you can help us--and at the same time help some of Frederick County's fabulous non-profits. These nonprofits--Children of Incarcerated Parents Partnership (COIPP), Housing Authority of the City of Frederick, I Believe in Me, On Our Own, and the new Day Center partnership between Salvation Army and Frederick Rescue Mission--use books in their programming during the year. Through our website, you can purchase selected titles for these organizations, and we will deliver the books to them. It's a safe and easy way to 'Share the Love' for Curious Iguana and the nonprofits who positively impact the lives of our neighbors."