Seems like some good news is in order...
The American Booksellers Association is very happy to announce a donation of $100,000 to the Book Industry Charitable Foundation (Binc). Binc’s ongoing support of bookstore employees facing hardship is especially important right now as booksellers and bookstores face financial challenges related to the COVID-19 crisis. ABA has heard from many member bookstores concerned about their booksellers’ welfare right now. We are happy to help Binc in their efforts to assist booksellers with medical expenses, quarantine-related expenses, lost wages, and personal household expenses during the crisis as well as bookstores that are unable to pay store rent and/or utility expenses due to store closures or restrictions related to the virus. For more information, please refer to the Binc website.
ABA is offering booksellers three months of membership dues relief or credit. Stores that pay quarterly will not be charged for next quarter; stores that pay monthly will not be charged for the next three months (March, April, and May); and stores that pay annually will automatically get 25 percent of their payment back (the refund process may take up to a week).
Additionally, IndieCommerce store revenue will be paid out more frequently during the crisis—once a week—in order to help stores with cash flow. (Please note that it will take a few days for money to appear in your account.)
Amazon has announced that it is deprioritizing book sales until at least April 5. This news, coupled with the increases stores were already experiencing in online sales, means ABA is prioritizing our support of bookstore e-commerce. IndieCommerce continues to set up IndieLite sites for free through May 31 for bookstores that don’t currently have e-commerce sites, and the team is working around the clock to ensure that existing e-commerce sites can keep up with increased volume. We are in ongoing communication with Ingram as they continue to work to support direct-to-home sales from store websites as well.
As a response to the COVID-19 outbreak, Facebook is offering $100M in cash grants and ad credits for up to 30,000 eligible small businesses in more than 30 countries. Facebook will begin taking applications in the upcoming weeks. Sign up to receive updates here.
Finally, some states have pushed back sales tax due dates due to COVID-19. For updated information, visit TaxJar’s Sales and Use Tax Filing Due Dates Affected by COVID-19 and your state government’s website.
All booksellers are invited to join an open forum to discuss their questions and concerns and share support and ideas about the COVID-19 outbreak with colleagues. The “COVID-19 Open Forum” meetings will be held via Zoom every weekday from 3:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. ET through April 30. Join the Zoom calls here; the meeting ID is 749 778 583. ABA’s membership team will moderate the forum.
Tomorrow’s issue of BTW will be a COVID-19 dedicated issue, so there will be no separate COVID-19 update tomorrow. Watch for BTW or check the COVID-19 page on BookWeb for updates.
ABA is here to support you; please reach out if there is anything we can do to help. And I’m going to keep repeating this as our mantra right now: We are an incredibly creative, resilient, supportive industry. We’ll get through this, together.