Bookselling during COVID-19
We're living through an unprecedented public health challenge. Taking the appropriate safety measures will lead to extreme challenges for independent bookstores and we empathize with the tremendous hardships before us.
Booksellers have always been leaders who do business in a way that best serves the needs of their community. The importance of social distancing and sheltering in place has been proven by many data sets and public health experts. We believe MIBA should be uplifting the community-focused values of our industry by supporting this tremendous effort to stave off transmission of the virus. We have always put our communities first and think it’s important to continue to uphold these values during a time of crisis.
Here’s the actions we recommend booksellers take at this time.
Visit ABA's resource page
Stores with open storefronts
Stores with closed storefronts
1. Understand your state mandates
At this point, “online only” sales can be a little confusing. We don’t yet know if “shelter in place” orders would mandate booksellers to stop fulfilling orders from within their own stores. We are compiling the state mandates to help us all navigate this grey area, but as more state-led mandates to shelter in place are becoming the norm, we’d like to help you interpret and enact these rules for your business. We think this approach has the most traction for the long haul.
2. Get e-commerce if you don’t have it
Ingram (and by extension, Bookshop.org) has been declared an essential business, which means we should operate as if we can rely on direct-to-home orders being filled. Set yourself up with online sales if you don't already have them.
If you want to fulfill orders yourself, IndieCommerce continues to set up IndieLite sites for free through May 31 for bookstores that don’t currently have e-commerce sites.
If you'd like someone else to fulfill your orders, sign up for an affiliate account with Bookshop.org; your store's orders will be fulfilled by Ingram, and Bookshop is offering a higher take-home percentage at this time. Email Sarah High at the address included in the link above to get started.
3. Other ideas
We want to know how your store is adapting to COVID-19, which will help guide others and also help us as we work with the ABA to advocate for federal and state legislatures to offer financial relief for small businesses. Please complete the poll today to allow us to serve you in this way.
Click below to see how stores are adapting to COVID-19.
Bookstore Social Media
Store Closure Announcements
- The University of Minnesota Press is offering the following terms to independent bookstore accounts from now through May 31st: +5% discount on all orders, free shipping on domestic orders of 15 or more units, and net 90-day payment period for any accounts that are currently on net 30. To qualify for these terms, please send all orders through your University of Minnesota sales representative (a list can be found here).
- Candlewick: "Together We're Stronger" special offer. Earn +5% discount and 60 days’ additional dating on all orders (frontlist and backlist) placed through May 15, 2020. Reason Code EC1 (for EDI orders use RCP001). No minimums. Remember to assort with your Penguin Random House orders!
- Chronicle: Extra 5% discount and 90-day dating on its standard 10 unit minimum for bookstores. The offer applies to all independent bookstores and gift stores. Details at PW
- Hachette: 5% discount off of MSRP for any title sold and delivered to customers in their local community. Details at PW
- Libro.fm: Consumer promo for new members: Start a membership with code SHOPBOOKSTORESNOW; get two audiobooks for the price of one ($14.99) and 100% of your payment will go to your local bookstore
- Penguin Random House: Permitting teachers, librarians and booksellers to create and share story time and read-aloud videos and live events. Details at PRH
- Schiffer Publishing: "We're in This Together" runs through April 30, and is for titles published before that date. Booksellers can buy 10-plus units (mix or match) at 50% with net 60 (extended dating for customers in good credit standing). All orders ship free freight. Promo code is Schiff20
- Holiday House: Holiday House has created this new resource page to meet the needs of those booksellers who would like to connect authors/illustrators and their books with community members in a virtual environment. This page compiles all their materials, which includes activities, lesson plans, event kits, read-aloud guidelines, and more. They're adding additional resources daily!
- Content Books (Northfield, MN) demonstrates how to do "bookstore take out"
- "Keep Calm and Read On." Left Bank Books shares "Free Shipping, Shop-From-Home Suggestions, and Proactive Cleanliness Protocols
- "Let's flatten the curve together." Moon Palace Books announces indefinite closure
- Indigo Bridge owner Kim Coleman, also a healthcare provider, announces indefinite closure
- Zenith Bookstores announces indefinite closure, curbside pick-up, and more