The days of sheltering in place and social distancing are indistinguishable. Work and home life blend together as we work from home. Bookstores are closed but open. The days of the week roll into one another, with no distinction between them. In the midst of this, structure is the new self-care. I’ve honed my work-from-home routine these past few weeks and there is a comfort even in the certainty of regular meal times in the midst of so much other uncertainty.
Your stores’ e-newsletters, e-commerce sites, social media posts, virtual author events, even your emails, offer me that same comfort right now. The continuity of hearing from you, connecting with you, just knowing you’re out there, is meaningful. And I know I’m not alone in that. Your customers feel the same. During a time that sometimes feels colored by what we’ve lost, one of the many things I think we’ve all gained is an appreciation for the web of connections that make up our lives, and perspective about what we truly value.
The Save Indie Bookstores campaign celebrates these connections and the value that your stores represent to your customers and your communities. Within the first five hours, we received $8,000 in donations and multiple press pieces, and we’ve barely begun. SaveIndieBookstores.com has all the details, including an FAQ page, but here are some reminders:
- Applications and eligibility requirements will be posted at SaveIndieBookstores.com on April 10. The deadline for applying is 11:59 pm on April 27. The application takes five minutes.
- All eligible indie bookstores will receive funds. We anticipate 95% of indie bookstores will be eligible. The final fund amount and the number of eligible bookstores that apply will determine the amount of money that’s ultimately given away to each store.
- We recommend that bookstores consider this to be just part of the overall relief plan they are pursuing, which may also include federal and local grants, forgivable loans, low-interest loans, Facebook grants, and more, as well as continuing to negotiate with all of your vendors.
- A media kit with marketing assets is available at SaveIndieBookstores.com so bookstores can share the campaign with their communities.
- Remember, this isn’t just a fundraising campaign. This is a moment to raise visibility and awareness of the value of indie bookstores to our culture and communities!
Take a moment to update ABA on the status of your store. Open? Closed? Closed with curbside service? Selling online? This information helps us update publishers, wholesalers, and shippers, and find ways to support you. You can fill out the form (it takes just three minutes) and also see the results. (Note: This information will be public.)
Technology Meetup: Ingram Direct to Home (April 7 at 1:00 pm EDT)
For those using Direct to Home on ipage to ship orders directly to your customers, Eric Forrest (supervisor, customer care, customer care operations and e-services) from Ingram is answering questions and hosting a live demonstration for members. Advanced registration is required.
Marketing Meetup: Virtual Events (April 9 at 11:00 am EDT)
For those interested in hosting virtual events for their customers, booksellers Liz Decker from Caprichos Books, Liz Hottel from Politics & Prose, and Jessica Stockton Bagnulo from Greenlight Bookstore, all of whom have held virtual events recently, using three different platforms, will share their experiences and speak to best practices. Advanced registration is required.
Apply for SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) Before the Money Runs Out
Members can apply here. I walked through it and it takes less than 30 minutes. You can’t save as you go, so you have to do it in one sitting. You’ll need gross revenues and cost of goods sold for 12 months prior to January 31, 2020; names, addresses, phone numbers, and social security numbers for all owners; the number of employees as of January 31, 2020; and your bank name, accounting number, and routing number.
I hope some of that information is helpful. If nothing else, now you know that it’s the end of the week so it must be Friday.
I’ll leave you with a poem to take you into your weekend. Another reminder of what we’ve gained: Know that we are connected / in ways that are terrifying and beautiful.
ABA is here for you. Please reach out if there is anything we can help with. We are an incredibly creative, resilient, supportive industry. We’ll get through this, together.