EASTON, Pa. (WLVT) - Independent bookstores around the world are fearful that temporary shutdowns may result in permanent closures.
Bookstores have been feeling the pinch of the pandemic since the shutdown began. In March, the Strand Book Store in New York City had to let go of nearly 200 employees - its first layoff in its 93-year history.
Jo Moranville runs Quadrant Book Mart and Coffee House in Easton. Since stay-at-home orders went into effect, her North Third Street shop has remained closed and she is taking online orders for books.
''Anytime a business that works on the margins slows down or closes for a while, there’s potential that they may not make it back,'' said Moranville. ''A lot of folks have contacted us on Facebook and bought gift certificates, which of course is very helpful to keep us in operation until we can get back open.''
Moranville says the shop’s cafe will also start take out service on Thursday.
To help independent bookstores like the Strand and Quadrant survive, self-described bibliophile Aakanksha Gaur created an app called ‘’Save Your Bookstore.’’ Guar is an India-based Instagram influencer who runs the online community ‘’ShelfJoy,’’ which highlights independent book shops around the world.
Her app helps users locate a bookstore in their community that they can support by purchasing books or gift cards online.
''The app is all about putting money back into your community,'' Guar told PBS39. ''You just type in SaveYourBookstore.com. You can search for your city, and bookstore profiles should come up. If you don’t have the means to buy a book right now, you can also just show support by following them on their social media platforms.''
The ‘’Save Your Bookstore’’ app utilizes crowd-sourcing to aggregate a list of indie bookstores worldwide.
Earlier this year, another startup called BookShop.org was created to help independent book shops compete with websites like Amazon and act as a one-stop-shop for book buyers. The site generated over 800-thousand dollars for their partner shops in March.