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Shakespeare and Company appeals for help after sales drop to 80% since March

Instituted in 1951 by George Whitman, the bookshop has been frequented by several authors and has gained cultural relevance over the years

By: Lifestyle Desk | New Delhi | October 29, 2020 12:52:24 pm
Post the appeal, many have come forward to help. (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

It is no secret that the pandemic has affected businesses across the globe. And bookshops, too, have severely faced the burnt. While many of them have closed in India, one of the world’s most famous bookshop Shakespeare and Company has now put out an appeal to its patrons for help. 

According to a report in The Guardian, the bookshop resorted to this after their sales dropped to 80 per cent since March.

“Like many independent businesses, we are struggling, trying to see a way forward during this time when we’ve been operating at a loss,” said the shop in an email to customers, adding that it would be “especially grateful for new website orders from those of you with the means and interest to do so”, read an email they sent out.

Instituted in 1951 by George Whitman, the bookshop has been frequented by several authors and has gained cultural relevance over the years. Many on social media offered to help post the mail, including, the report quotes, “an old “tumbleweed”, who placed a €1,000 order for three subscriptions to the shop’s Year of Reading offer.”

“We’re not closing our doors, but we’ve gone through all of our savings,” Whitman’s daughter, Sylvia Whitman was quoted as saying to the Guardian. “We are 80 per cent down since the beginning of the first wave. We’ve now gone through all of the bookshop savings, which we were lucky to build up, and we have also been making use of the support from the government, and especially the furlough scheme. But it doesn’t cover everything, and we’ve delayed quite a lot of rent that we have.”

The same report informs that the store was closed during France’s lockdown for two months. During this time selling books online too was stopped as per advice from the Syndicat de la librairie française. However, they are now looking at the way things unfold which might mean closing it for the second time.

“Right now our cafe and bookshop are open, but it’s looking like we will have to close both because bookshops are considered non-essential. The one big difference is that we’re adamant this time we’re going to be ready to keep the website open,” Whitman was quoted as saying.

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