Bristol’s growing number of bookshops are committed to helping their customers through the current crisis in any way they can.
With their businesses and livelihoods under threat, they are not only providing valuable reading material but are realising their importance as community hubs.
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Dan Ross, who co-runs Storysmith Books on North Street in Bedminster with his wife, Emily, says:
“Basically we’re staying open as long as it’s safe to do so, and people are stocking up on books in anticipation of isolation – especially now that the schools are closing we’re giving a lot of recommendations for parents who need stimulating books for their younger kids and chunky YA novels for their teenagers.
“We’ve also ramped up our mail order service to cope with the hugely increased demand since social distancing measures were introduced – we can post books to anywhere in the world as long as couriers and the Royal Mail are still operational, and for locals we’ve gone old school and are doing a daily bicycle delivery round. We are working pretty much around the clock to make sure everyone gets their books.
“There’s been a sudden spike in orders for our book subscriptions too: people are buying them for themselves and family members so they can all read the same books together even if they’re not seeing each other regularly for some time, which is a really nice way to maintain a bit of normality and community.
On the wider Bedminster community, Ross continues: “We’ve felt the BS3 community pull together more strongly than ever in just these last few days, and it has rammed home to us just how important our independent traders are. There’s worry in the air, but not much panic – the bookshop has been a brilliant place to talk about what’s going on and how everyone’s dealing with the situation, but also how the community is mobilising to help those in need. Us putting books through people’s letterboxes is just our little contribution, and we’re so grateful for everyone’s support.”
Max Minervas in Henleaze are offering a full delivery service, particularly to help those who are self-isolating and are looking at ways they may be able to help their more vulnerable customers with essential shopping.
Events manager at Waterstones in the Galleries, Edouard Gallais says: “for now we’re open as usual, and we’ll try to keep online services running for as long as we can too so supporting brick and mortar shops rather than Amazon is more relevant than ever.
“Also, we’re hoping to make up for the lack of customer interaction with more going on with our social media so anyone wanting to keep the discussion going is very welcome to follow us!”
For full information on what Bristol bookshops are offering through the crisis, and to keep in contact via social media, visit:
Storysmith Books: https://storysmithbooks.com/
Max Minervas: https://maxminervas.co.uk/
Waterstones, Bristol Galleries: https://www.waterstones.com/bookshops/bristol-galleries
Waterstones, Clifton: https://www.waterstones.com/bookshops/waterstones-clifton
Main photo credit: Storysmith Books