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Amid the current coronavirus pandemic, many people have chosen to self-quarantine and practice social distancing in efforts to stop the spread. This leaves many with newfound free time on their hands and the challenge of finding ways to entertain themselves while quarantining at home. In this quest, many have turned to reading to fill their spare time and rather than go to a bookstore to acquire these books, they can be found entirely online.
Audio-bookstore, Libro.fm, and online bookstore, Bookshop.org have both seen sales skyrocket, as a result of the recent coronavirus pandemic. Both online stores collaborate with independent booksellers and return a share of sales back to them. This is in an effort to keep independent bookstores alive, especially during this time of social distancing. CEO and co-founder of Libro.fm, Mark Pearson, notes that “it has been a record breaking month for sales and new memberships.” Compared to the previous month, Pearson notes that sales for the thirty day period, which ended on March 15, were up about 150%.
image via grinnell college
Libro.fm, which is based in Seattle, had already noticed the hit to independent bookstores in their community. In a radical move, the company altered their business model “so that affiliate bookstores get all the revenue from new membership sales until the end of the month.” Pearson notes the importance of independent booksellers stating, “if independent bookstores go under, we don’t exist.” This important measure reminds people of the value of their own community.
Similarly, Bookshop.org has seen a sudden increase in the amount of bookstores signing up as affiliates. Founder Andy Hunter says, “A lot of stores opened accounts recently as an emergency measure in case they need to close up shop.” Until then, they are able to fulfill the web orders from their own shops. Bookshop.org has also seen a giant increase in sales as the coronavirus pandemic has escalated. Over the last four days, the online shop has seen a 400% increase in sales as social distancing and self-quarantining have become a widespread practice.
image via venngage
While companies like Libro.fm and Bookshop.org have solved a number of societal problems during this ambiguous and secluded time, that doesn’t mean they don’t feel pressure to meet customer demands. Developers feel the pressure to make site improvements faster, and without error. For now, Hunter says that, so long as our servers stay up – we’ve checked them, and they are good – we’ll be here for bookstores.”
Stay safe and happy reading!
Featured Image via Fine Art America
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