In the midst of uncertainty, independent bookstores in LA are doing everything that they can. Since the start of the pandemic in March, indie bookstores were worried about staying afloat. Some of them were a million dollars in debt, and they had to lay off some workers and switch to online orders. However, those online orders have certainly helped a lot.
Image via LAIST
A majority of the stores’ revenue comes from online orders, but the stores have opened back up for business as well. They have safety protocols in place, with a 20% capacity rule and social distancing measures. Of course, the stores aren’t doing as well as they would under other circumstances, but they are managing to stay open and sell books. The owner of Last Bookstore, Josh Spencer, states how much the store was struggling before the pandemic, but he is positive customers will help change the debt that the store is currently in for the better.
Other bookstores, such as one of the oldest Indie bookstores in LA, Chevaliar’s, were down fifty percent in sales in the beginning of the shutdown, but now they have people lined up waiting to come inside. The twenty percent capacity may not seem like much but it has also helped the store find some relief. In October, the store reached out to customers on social media, stating how they would need a lot of support since they were moving to a bigger space, and someone kind enough bought $10,000 worth of gift cards.
Many other bookstores in LA have started GoFundMe pages, book subscription boxes, online author events, and online book clubs. The virtual book clubs get more members than the in person organizations they had had. That’s amazing! These wonderful indie bookstores may be struggling but, with the help of book lovers, these stores will continue to thrive during these crazy times.