5 ways to support booksellers this holiday shopping season
Imagine: it’s cold, but you don’t mind. You are bundled up in your favorite cozy winter outfit: scarf, hat, mittens. You’ve got the hot drink of your choice and you’re about to tick off half the people on your holiday shopping list. You head to your independent bookstore and feel good about supporting a local business while giving thoughtful gifts to loved ones.
You walk into the bookstore, excited by your You’ve got mail moment, but instead you come across something more like Jingle All the Way, Arnold Schwarzenegger’s classic film about Christmas shopping panic before the Internet. The books are scattered, the children are crying, and someone is screaming that one-size-fits-all books are beautiful. their sock swap in 20 minutes? They are try to support local businesses. The bookseller smiles weakly.
I am entering my third Christmas shopping season as a bookseller and my second during a global pandemic. To be honest, I love the chaos – okay, not the pandemic-induced chaos, but the rest: trying to find the perfect book on our shelves for a customer who needs something for a family member. remote is always a fun challenge. The look of relief when I hand a client a stack of beautifully wrapped books is priceless. The fast paced is invigorating and, listen, I love a solid vacation playlist.
But I also know I’m heading for one of the most exhausting times of the year. I just ordered new slipper insoles as a precaution, placed an order for loose coffee beans so I could bring extra thermos to work, and I’m already amending my personal schedule to give myself more time to rest. At the macro level, booksellers across the country have been increasing their inventories in recent months as they hear more and more about supply chain issues and observe that these shortages affect every aspect of book sales. .
So, is there anything you, as a customer, can do to support booksellers while supporting local businesses? I’m so glad you asked! While new slipper insoles can be a little too personal, and bringing your bookstore a caffeinated beverage might be a hit or miss proposition (unless you’re friends close enough to text them to the store). advance to request an order), there are a few things you can do to lighten the load on booksellers. And I have a hunch that most of them would work for any retail worker this year.
As this article goes live, we’re pretty much past the âstore soonerâ dates, especially for Chanukah, but it’s better now than later! Supply chain issues, combined with worsening shipping issues as Christmas approaches, will make it increasingly difficult for bookstores to restock their shelves. Place your orders or stop as soon as possible!
Use what they have
Use the services of your bookstore! Does your bookstore have a robust website? Use it! Can you check the stock or place a large order? Placing orders or submitting requests through the website allows your bookstore to process your questions after hours or between rushes. Your bookseller is always happy to help over the phone, but when there’s a long line of people in the store, it’s hard to prioritize phone calls. You can also sign up for SMS or email alerts to be notified when a special order arrives, as these are more easily automated than phone calls.
Buy where you shop
You might be surprised by this one, but more than once I have spent a lot of time helping a customer find the perfect gift, to have them take a look at the price, research the product on Amazon and sneak up. the door. I understand! I also like to save money! I want Jeff Bezos to find happiness and fulfillment too! But you could think of the extra few dollars as payment for the services provided by your local bookstore. Plus, Jeff Bezos never offered to help you choose between four bestselling WWII books for your stepdad.
Your bookseller is working overtime to give you the best shopping experience possible this year, but queues are growing and deliveries are delayed. If your bookstore offers gift wrapping, you might suggest that you come back later to pick up your packages.
I asked several booksellers what was the first thing they would like to tell customers this year, and I was surprised to hear the same thing from everyone: be flexible. You might be looking for the excellent Molly Baz Cook this book for the old one enjoy your food stan on your list, but if it’s full maybe Carla Lalli Music is just as excellent That sounds so good would be a perfect substitute, and a surprise for the recipient, to boot. Stef, a bookseller in Exeter, New Hampshire, said, âI know sometimes people want what they want, but booksellers are damn good at recommendations! You might end up with something more interesting than this book that’s on every gift guide.
These are just a few things you can do to lighten the load on your booksellers, but to be honest we’re as happy to see you walk through the door with your holiday sweater as you are there. to be. It’s a magical time of year, and booksellers across the country have their favorite recommendations on hand to help you find the perfect one. You’ve got mail/Miracle on 34th Street/ Hallmark Film Bookstore Moment.