In the midst of the pandemic, a lot of workers are unfortunately being laid off, and Strand Bookstore, unfortunately, is no exception. The store closed its doors last week, until further notice. Now, due to the closure, and the unknown of how long this pandemic will last, the store had to lay off about 188 of their workers.
Image via Gothamist
The lay off is hopefully temporary, and the workers did get paid last week, but considering the store is independent, and has no money coming in right now, the store had no choice. When things are back to normal, they are hopeful that they can hire everyone back, bur for now, they only have twenty-four remaining employees. They thought they would be able to keep their online shop open, but as of Sunday night, the Governor put that on pause, so nothing can be shipped out of the store.
Barnes and Noble closed it’s doors over the weekend as well, along with many other bookstores. Right now the only stores open are ones that carry essential needs, like grocery stores and pharmacies. Amazon isn’t shipping books until the end of April, so readers have no choice but to use ebooks for now. The libraries are closed as well, so this is a sad time for book lovers, without access to any paper books, but right now, the important thing is staying indoors and washing your hands. In order for things to go back to normal faster, we have to follow the rules and do what’s best for ourselves and the world. A big round of applause to the essential workers who go to work every day to ensure our safety. It is unfortunate that workers are being laid off, but this shall pass. Stay safe!
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We recently asked readers to send us their favorite independent bookstores. This week, we’re focusing on Write Blend Bookshop, in Waterloo, Liverpool, which was nominated by several of its passionate customers.
For the years they have been in business, Write Blend Bookshop has served as an artistic hub and relaxing space for the community. Not only do they hold an amazing library of books, both popular and underground, but the bookstore also strives to cultivate a love of arts and culture, bringing the community a special space to come together.
They are especially supportive of local musicians and writers. Hans, a regular and local writer, expressed how wonderful and supportive the owner, Bob Stone, and his wife have been.
Bob and his wife are super nice and always very helpful. Their unique sense of humor, the jokes and knowing where every last book is in that place. Bob’s also an author himself, so he knows about the struggle of reaching an audience, and he’s so helpful to local and regional indie authors.
Bob is a friend to all that come in, and have helped a great deal of artists gain their confidence in their respective craft.
Music Event With Ten Strings | Image via Writer Blend Website
The bookstore itself is home to regular events for independent authors, writing courses for those starting out, and they hold open mic events for poetry nights and music nights regularly as well.
Event for Self-publishing Authors | Image via Writer Blend/Facebook
There are music and movement classes for children as well, encouraging our younger generation to embrace and uphold these arts.
Independent Author Event Hosted by Write Blend | Image via Write Blend/Facebook
On top of classes and events for the community, Write Blend Bookshop really shows its deep care for all the people they serve through support services to aid with mental illness. This portion of the bookstore is called “The Therapy Suite” and here they offer holistic healing, nutritional therapy, massages, and even yoga!
Short list of some of the Therapy suite’s relaxing services. | Image via Write Blend Website
If yoga and massage are not quite up your alley, take a stop at Write Blend’s lovely cafe. A quiet space, and the perfect work space for local writers, where there is room to breathe and its intimate atmosphere will make you feel at home.
Image via TripAdvisor
The cafe makes fantastic and unique brews of coffee, as well as the most delicious cafe treats, many of them originally made.
Original Autumn Treat made at the cafe, Warm Belgian chocolate shortbread served with a scoop of ice cream and choice of sauce | Image via Write Blend/Facebook
For those of you looking for great reads, Write Blend Bookshop holds a diverse library of books that are popular and underground. They hold books for the mass public and for individual tastes, and its owner, Bob, has made great recommendations!
Another regular of Write Blend, Jude Lennon, shared two of the best recommendations given to him from Bob Stone himself.
So many to choose from… 1. Missing Beat by Bob Stone. This is a YA fantasy novel (part of a trilogy) This is not my usual genre at all. And yet I gave it a go and I’m so glad I did. Compelling, interesting, great characters, great plot. Without Write Blend I would definitely not have come across this book. 2. His Mother by Sally-Anne Tapia-Bowes. A brilliant debut looking at a crime from both the point of view of the detective and the criminal. Again, I wouldn’t have found this without Bob suggesting it.
Owner Bob Stone | Image via Write Blend Bookshop
This is a bookstore where any book can be found! If you aren’t finding anything that interests you, special orders can be made, and at reasonable prices. If your plans are bringing you to the area, it could make for a great opportunity to make a special order of your own ahead of time!
Write Blend Bookshop is the ideal bookstore for any lover of arts and culture. It provides not only a diverse amount of books to read, but also a relaxing and supportive environment for anyone who walks in.
Image via Jor Barrie
Learn more about Write Blend Bookshop at their website here.
Barnes & Noble is launching a new YA Book Club just in time for the summer to begin!
Meetings will be held in-store the second Thursday of each month at nationwide locations. Expect hot deals, 50% off discounts on select YA releases, exciting giveaways, and exclusive bonus content! (Plus, there will be $2 teas at B&N cafés). These meetings will be open to all YA fans… and yes, that’s a description of the genre, NOT the required age range of the attendees.
Image Via Barnes & Noble
The first meeting will take place on June 13th at 7pm across locations nationwide. Christine Riccio’s Again, but Betterwill be number one—that’s both chronologically first AND number one on the bestseller list. Already at #1 in Teen & Young Adult Romantic Comedy on Amazon, Riccio’s novel is one of those rare, hotly-anticipated debuts. Widely considered to be the ‘original BookTuber,’ Riccio has extensively documented her writing process to her 406k engaged followers. The special book club edition will be available to attendees, which includes Q & A with the author and an exclusive deleted scene.
The following is a sneak peak from Barnes & Noble to build our hype for this exciting community event:
June: Again, but Betterby Christine Riccio, Thursday, June 13, at 7 PM. Again, But Better is a story about second chances, discovering yourself, and being brave enough to try again.
July: We Hunt the Flame by Hafsah Faizal, Thursday, July 11, at 7 PM. Set in a richly detailed world inspired by ancient Arabia, We Hunt the Flame is a gripping debut of discovery, conquering fear, and taking identity into your own hands.
August: Wilder Girls by Rory Power, Thursday, August 8, at 7 PM. Wilder Girls is a debut novel about three best friends living in quarantine at their island boarding school, and the lengths they go to uncover the truth of their confinement.
Images Via Amazon; Made With Photocollage
Sign up to attend the first meeting of B&N’s Book Club, and check out the hashtag #BNYABookClub for more info.
Barnes & Nobles’ effort to make its retail locations community spaces comes in the midst of corporate financial struggles. Alarmists are quick to warn readers of the impending ‘death of print media,’ a sentiment that’s significantly more dramatic than it is accurate. What we’re really looking at is the death of chain bookstores, a fate which could await even retail giant B&N. With plans to close 167 stores by 2022, there will be swaths of the country left without its familiar storefront. And, no, we’re not just talking the boondocks—Washington D.C. lost its B&N back in 2015 despite its residents spending more money on reading than anywhere else in the United States.
Fortunately, this decline doesn’t signify the death of the bookstore in general. Indie bookstores are actually on the rise: over the past eight years, the number of indie bookstores has increased by 25%
The success of these bookstores likely has to do with their interconnectedness with the neighborhoods in which they reside. Perhaps Barnes & Noble’s YA Book Club will bring this sense of community to its retail locations!