We’ve done all the things. We limited our hours and then we finally shut our doors. We are all engaging in social distancing, if not self-isolation. We wash our hands until they are red and dry, and then rub hand sanitizer on them to boot. We obsessively clean everything with Clorox wipes. We use words in our regular everyday vocabulary now that had no place there before…coronavirus, shelter-in-place, immunocompromised. We have limited payroll, putting the livelihoods of our most important assets at risk. We are seeing our sales and the sales of our fellow small business people slowly dwindle daily and many of us sit in the fear of losing the work-babies that we have thrown our lives into. It’s the end of the world as we know it and most of us do not feel fine. (Only you 80s kids will get that.)
I also see daily evidence of the helpers. I love the quote by Mr. Rogers:
“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’”
The helpers are coming out in droves and it touches me deeply. We are regularly getting calls, emails, texts, instant messages…how can we help you? What would be the best way to support Page 1? First, let me say thank you. Thank you for thinking of us. And second, there are a variety of ways.
- Page 1 was still very much in growth mode as we entered this global crisis. It is so important that we do everything we can to keep that momentum going. We need more people to know about us, so we would ask that you share our social media far and wide. If a blog post (this one, maybe) or Instagram photo or Facebook funny resonate with you, please share often and widely.
- Purchase subscriptions and gift cards. If you already have a subscription and are happy with it, get another one and ask us to tack it on to the end of the one you already have. Get one for your mom, your sister, your uncle. It’s a great “I love you” gift for people who are isolated and in desperate need of entertainment. A monthly reminder to them that they are in your heart. We will even include a personal note from you in each box!
- Buy your individual books through our page on Bookshop.org. Jeff Bezos is going to make plenty of money with people buying more online during this crisis. Divert a bit of that to the little guy. Page 1 makes almost as much revenue when you buy through Bookshop as we would if you bought it in our shop.
- And while we’re on the topic of Bezos, you all do know that Amazon also owns Audible, right? If you love audiobooks, there’s an alternative for that too with our Libro.fm page. Buying your audiobooks through Libro.fm also helps Page 1! When you start a membership with code SHOPBOOKSTORESNOW, you’ll get two audiobooks for the price of one ($14.99), and 100% of your payment will go to us!
- Take care of YOU! Nap, walk your pets, eat healthy food, take a bath, put on a facemask. Do those things you always wish you had time to. Splurge and buy something you’ve wanted from a small maker. (Pyne and Smith, I deserve a treat and I’m coming for that cheery green dress!)
- Finally, reach out to the readers you love and check in on them. Readers are often introverts. And while there are lots of funny memes out there about how we introverts have been training for this moment our whole lives, it’s still a scary and lonely place for most people. Send a note of love. Skype. FaceTime. Email. Text. Technology has made it so easy for us to all stay in touch. So, we challenge you to reach out and say to someone, Hey, whatcha reading?
We are booksellers because we love books and we love our readers. Your Literary Matchmakers are wishing you and your loved ones health, safety, and peace in this time. And lots of good reads!
UPDATE: As I was writing this, I learned that there are two cases of the virus in the retirement community a few blocks from my house. I will be doing the responsible thing and working from home, trying to orchestrate your boxes from here. We have all decided to not be working together and will go in shifts to pick, wrap, and pack your bundles. We will also wait three days after packing before sending, which may sound extreme, but the virus cannot live on paper for longer than that. We want you to feel totally secure that what you are receiving is happy and safe bookmail! We are open to any other ideas or comments that will help during this time. Xoxo, Brandy.