Independent booksellers have had their ups and downs throughout the pandemic. There was a major push to order books from small bookstores (as opposed to ordering from Amazon or Barnes & Noble) last summer, but with publishing shortages on the rise as we head into the holidays, indie bookstores will need to do everything they can to stay afloat. Over the past two days, around 600 indie booksellers and publishing professionals have joined together to discuss changes to the book industry during a conference called Reimagining Bookstores.
Praveen Madan, CEO of Kepler’s Books and leader of the conference, asked, “How can we reimagine bookstores to deepen literacy, strengthen our communities, and pay decent, living wages to our employees?” This means that not only are bookstores responsible for encouraging readers but also for encouraging and supporting their employees. Attendees discussed the idea that retail is not deemed to be a career with longevity. But seeing as bookselling will never go out of style, can changes be made to the industry to make life-long careers out of selling books?
The first day also included discussions about raising minimum wages at independent bookstores and piloting a 2 percent surcharge to keep booksellers and their employees afloat. The second day of the conference continues through the end of today, where conversations around balancing the demands of a store while still supporting employees will continue.
Penguin Random House recently made it their mission to ensure delivery of books to indie booksellers to support them this holiday season, You can read more about this PRH’s new policy here.
FEATURED IMAGE VIA REIMAGINGING BOOKSTORES