Just last week, the Strand’s owner Nancy Bass Wyden, posted an open letter on social media asking for help from the community and asking them to buy books since their sales were down 70% compared to last year.
image via the new york times
The letter was received with mixed opinions from people advocating for the stores and others blaming Waden for fiscal irresponsibility, buying Amazon stock, laying off workers after receiving a PPP loan of more than $1 million, and for not hiring black unionized workers. Despite the public’s perception of the owner, Nancy Wyden, book lovers were swift in their response after the letter was published.
Shortly after the release of this letter, people were lining up outside the two locations waiting to make purchases. By Saturday, they had received 10,000 online orders and by the end of the weekend they had received 25,000. The number of orders they would usually receive is 600. Their sales for those days are now their biggest sales for any October day ever. One story that stands out on this, is one costumer who purchased 197 books.
A union shop steward at the strand, Melissa Guzy, said “When people support the Strand, they aren’t just supporting Nancy, they’re supporting us, they’re supporting the workers.”
Despite the Strand’s effective call to action, many bookstores are still struggling to survive through the pandemic, so if you are purchasing any books soon, make sure to support your local independent bookstores!
You don't have to look too far to see that fans have been craving another large-scale fantasy epic of magical proportions since the conclusion of HBO's adaptation of George R. R. Martin's, A Game of Thrones. And this time, it's Amazon that's stepping up to the plate with their upcoming adaptation of Robert Jordan's timeless epic fantasy, The Wheel of Time series.
Welcome back to another Bookspot of the Week, where we connect with outstanding bookstores in order to share their businesses and satisfy your craving for bookstore gems. This week we spoke with Ragna Lüders, the owner of a bookstore in Germany whose shop won the Hamburg Bookstore Prize in 2016, as well as the German Bookstore Prize from 2017 to 2019: Buchhandlung Lüders.
Let’s take a little trip to Hamburg and jump in on all the bookish buzz!
How did your bookstore transition from concept to reality?
My father opened the bookstore almost sixty-five years ago so it has always been a family business and we are proud to still thrive as an independent bookstore.
What do you feel is unique to your bookstore?
We offer a carefully curated selection of both new and second-hand books, with more than a few real treasures on our shelves, and our entire team is very passionate about literature. Plus, we use Instagram to share this passion with even more people.
If you had infinite space, what might you add to the store?
An even wider range of books about climate change, veganism, feminism and other topics that we feel are the most important in this day and age.
How do you feel your bookstore fits into your local community?
Many of our patrons live right around the corner and come in at least once a week. We’ve known them for a long time, we know their taste in books, and, very often, we have inspiring conversations.
What does your store offer that a chain or online retailer can’t?
You enter our bookstore and you are surrounded by books. You can smell the paper, roam the shelves that reach up to the ceiling, leaf through a first edition, a children’s book or the newest novel, and get recommendations from people who are booksellers with heart and soul.
Do you hand-pick your staff to create a specific environment?
Absolutely. A passionate interest for literature is important and it is out heart’s desire to create a friendly and happy atmosphere – for us and all the people that are coming to our store. We carefully select our staff to have a great and inspiring time together.
How else do you create a welcoming environment?
We try to give our customers space to browse, but we are friendly and welcoming if support in finding the right book is needed.
What about your store do you think appeals to your neighborhood?
We are an active part of our neighborhood as we offer readings, dress the store window with changing themes, and communicate a lot with our customers.
Do you have any staff picks or releases we should watch out for?
We do have staff picks. We frequently share them in our Lüders Literatur Leporello and on Instagram.
Do you tailor your inventory according to your community?
Well, our community strongly reflects our own values so it is a great fit. Both in literary tastes and political attitudes.
Is there anything else that you’d like our audience to know?
We are very happy, and proud, that we won the Hamburg Bookstore Prize in 2016 and the German Bookstore Prize in 2017, 2018, 2019. We just won the German Book Blog Award, and our Instagram account was named the Best Bookstore Blog of 2020.
This latest coffee table book, Loving: A Photographic History of Men in Love, 1850s to 1950s, is opening a window into the past as well as opening minds. In these 330 pages, a century of male love is revealed, in all its sentiment and courage, before it was legal.
The loss of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is without a doubt one of the lower lows of this uncommonly uphill year, and so it may come as a comfort to many that the allegedly notorious RBG—a national pillar of empowerment, equity, and social justice—is not quite done speaking.