THE ROLE OF BOOKSELLERS DURING COVID-19

In this unprecedented moment, many of us feel powerless. Sure, we are washing our hands, covering our coughs and sneezes with our arms, practicing a reasonable social distance, and staying at home if we show signs of sickness. As bars, restaurants, coffeeshops, gyms, and businesses have closed, our human need for connection is greater than ever.

Gramercy Books is keeping our doors open to offer refuge when you need a change of scenery. We’re here to take your calls, questions, and orders for books, games, puzzles, and more. We are taking every precaution to provide a safe space for our customers and staff. But for those who would rather not leave their homes, we have instituted free shipping for orders over $25. For those who would rather not enter any public space, we now offer curbside pickup. In either case, you only need to call us, or order online, and we can get you what you need. 

Books make the best companions. They take us to new places and let us meet new people. They make us laugh and cry and help us escape our troubles. And what we do have right now is the gift of time: time to read to each other, and to read for ourselves. 

Gramercy’s booksellers can recommend so many kinds of books that you might want to explore. Consider this great history book: Erik Larson's profile of Winston Churchill in The Spendid and the Vile. Laugh out loud and yet gain insight about a place and time different from your own in James McBride’s latest novel, Deacon King Kong. Perhaps you are having some trouble focusing right now and would like some light, upbeat reading so you might enjoy Two Lives of Lydia Bird, by Josie Silver; or a little levity while we're all in tight quarters together—You Can Only Yell at Me for One Thing at a Time by Patricia Marx, illustrated by Roz Chast. For our female customers, if you want to read a powerful and revealing memoir for inspiration, you might try Untamed by Glennon Doyle. And if you’re looking for a thick book that will last you for a week, try Hilary Mantel’s latest, The Mirror and the Light

Gramercy offers a wide range of merchandise to keep your children learning while schools are closed.  We have workbooks for all ages and a well-stocked non-fiction section where you will find biography, history, science, and nature titles.  On the entertainment front, we carry loads of activity books, sticker books, puzzles, games, craft kits, science kits, and colored pencils and markers.  And, of course, a trove of “just for fun” items like putty, slime, and yo-yos!  We have Passover and Easter books, and can help you fill that basket with a nice mix of books and toys, either in person or by phone.

For many booksellers, like other retail businesses, these are difficult days. The ways you can help your local bookseller include ordering online, signing up for our local newsletter, following us on social media, preordering upcoming books you’re excited about, and buying gift cards. You can also support indie bookstores and indie booksellers, generally, by contributing to the Book Industry Charitable Foundation (Binc), which since 1996 has provided assistance to booksellers suffering from severe hardships or emergencies. It's the only organization like it in the book business, and is, especially now, a most worthy cause. I personally contribute to it.

Gramercy Books expects to remain a core member of our community for a long time to come. We, like others, are finding creative ways to cope with this unprecedented situation. Continue to engage with us. And stay safe!

Written by Linda Kass

About the author: I began my career as a magazine writer and correspondent for regional and national publications and am now an assistant editor for Narrative, an online literary magazine. My debut novel, Tasa’s Song, was inspired by my mother’s early life in eastern Poland during the Second World War. My second historical novel, A Ritchie Boy, will be out this September. I am also the proud owner of Gramercy Books, serving all of central Ohio!

Learn more about me on my personal website.