Bookstores were already having a bit of trouble before the pandemic. And continued to take difficult hits as Covid-19 ran its course. Many independently owned bookstores had to close. Unable to sustain their business in the face of delivery services with quick turn around times like Amazon. Many book enthusiasts worried for their beloved independent stores, bemoaning the lack of physical joy in ordering books online. Luckily, all is not lost! And enthusiasts should be happy to know that this year has seen a rise in book stores across the US.
As business practices return to normal and consumers have ventured out more to storefronts to do their shopping, so too have independent bookstores sprung back up. The American Booksellers Association has reported that membership is at its highest level in 20 years! The pendulum seems to be swinging its way back. Tired of everything being digitized, consumers are seeking out the physical. The pandemic has taught many to take stock of their lives, taking more time for themselves to feel like they’re living and not just cogs in the capitalist wheel. And there’s truly nothing like curling up with a good book with some tea or coffee. Humans are reclaiming creature comforts. And it seems to be starting with books.
One such bookseller, Jessica Callahan, opened a bookstore with two friends. Pocket Books Shop opened last year in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. “We’re not getting rich from this, but we’re able to pay our bills and pay ourselves,” Callahan said. The love of books and the drive to preserve a portion of physical media drives them to run a bookstore. Though there’s something to be said of people running independent bookstores while existing in financial straits. Owners underpaying themselves and employees while feeling an honor-bound duty towards preserving books isn’t the most sustainable. But for now, let’s just enjoy the fact that bookstore are coming back and that print is, in fact, not dead.