A study by the American Booksellers Association shows that 20% of independent bookstores across the country are in danger of closing amid the coronavirus pandemic.
It is not that people are reading less, but that they are going to big industries to supply their reading habits.
This trend has Douglasville Books owner Teresa Rice concerned about her Church Street book store.
Rice is taking part in the American Booksellers Association’s “Boxed Out” campaign to draw attention to the “high stakes indie bookstores” face with the upcoming holiday season.
“We are definitely pushing because we would like to stay in business,” Rice said.
The campaign encourages customers to shop at independent local bookstores rather than large online retailers like Amazon.
“People may not realize the cost and consequences of convenience shopping until it’s too late,” American Booksellers Association CEO Allison K. Hill said in a statement. “Closed indie bookstores represent the loss of local jobs and local tax dollars; the loss of community centers, and the loss of opportunities for readers to discover books and connect with other readers in a meaningful face-to-face way.”
According to American Booksellers Association, the theme “Boxed Out” derives from how Amazon boxes are overtaking the world.
Hill said that more “one indie bookstore a week has closed” since the COVID-19 crisis began.
Rice has launched a campaign through posters and newspaper ads to help encourage people to utilize the resources she has available at her bookstore.
“I want to remind people that I can order books, and get things that the order larger companies can do,” she said. “We have a lot of long term people that come into our store.”
With electronic devices becoming increasingly popular, especially among younger folks, Rice said reaching them through social media will be key for the campaign.
She said she has a “good relationship” with the local schools who steer students her way for purchases.
“There is a value in reading,” Rice said. “We have to reach the younger people. I’ve researched this campaign with American Booksellers Association and I think it will help.”