During the pandemic, bookshops have been overwhelmed with support and seen their true value to communities. As everyone learnt to “pivot”, “go digital” and deliver in new and different ways, stores have dug in and stayed afloat in the toughest of times. And it is the many and varied ways communities have shown their love – from fresh flowers to regular weekly orders to homemade tarts – that has kept their retail hearts beating.
Each year the Australian Booksellers Association’s (ABA) Love Your Bookshop Day (LYBD) celebrates the unique love of bookshops. Robbie Egan, CEO of ABA says,
“Australian communities have been wonderful supporters of their local bookshops during the pandemic, and bookshops have responded in turn with great ingenuity… It has not been easy, but Australian bookshops continue to trade well, unlike some in the UK and the USA, where uncertainty has proved devastating. LYBD 2020 is a huge thank you and a celebration of the connection, solace, and relief books and bookshops have provided this year.”
During the pandemic print book sales, year to date, are up by +2.9% on last year’s value, with an even more notable lift in unit sales, +7%*. Despite the restrictions on foot traffic which have so devastated retail generally, books and bookshops have managed to find a way to continue to connect with communities and readers. Grassroots campaigns such as #backyourbookshop, #buylocal and Counter Covid show consumers want to ensure their much-loved locals survive and print book sales show the strength of support for bookshops.
These stories and many others will be shared on 3 October – Everyone is invited to join in LYBD online at a special Facebook Live event at 11 am with The KidLit Club Takeover featuring storytime for families plus catch ups with booksellers and authors across the country. While LYBD 2020 will look different this year it will be a celebration of survival, community and above all a thank you to the communities that love their bookshops. And this year for the first time there’s twice the love as Love Your Bookshop Day coincides with the UK’s Bookshop Day .
Though the pandemic is far from over and uncertain times remain, Australian Booksellers Association is inviting everyone to take the opportunity to celebrate books, our treasured stores and the communities that support them.
For more go to www.loveyourbookshop.com.au or just drop into Better Read then Dead in Newtown
Image: Better Read Than Dead_Staff dress ups as Aslan, The Cat in the Hat and Pippy Longstocking_@betterreadbookshop.png