If books are important to you, if they have taught you valuable lessons in the past, or give you comfort and escape right now, act now to support books. With a spare minute, or some cash, you can transform the lives of writers, publishers and booksellers during the Coronavirus crisis.
Books are my life
Professionally books have shaped every stage of my career – from my first job in a bookshop, a career in publishing, managing a writers’ retreat centre to creating a business that supports writers, and now as a writer myself.
Personally, they have got me through the lows of life – as a bored teenager kicking my heels in Cornwall dreaming of escape and living vicariously through novels, or coping with shitty jobs where the highlight of the day was reading on my commute home.
Books have given the best times of my life – I met my husband in that bookshop and recently won an award for my first book.
Books during the Coronavirus crisis
The current pandemic has changed the world forever. People, their families, jobs, businesses and finances have been impacted severely. Many are facing sorrows and hardships that were unimaginable just a few weeks ago.
It felt frivolous to talk about books while people are risking their lives to care for others.
But I am not a frontline worker, my skills are not in demand – that’s the reality of the choices I have made in my career.
While I’m still struggling to keep my business afloat, support my clients, and get my bills paid – I must look beyond myself, to the wider publishing industry, which like other sectors has been devastated by the Coronavirus crisis. There are ways we can help.
How to support books right now
If books have ever been important to you, if they have taught you valuable lessons in the past, or give you comfort and escape right now, you can do one of the suggestions below. Some are free and take only a minute, others can take longer, or involve spending some money – any of them make a huge difference to writers, publishers and bookshops.
Have a read, take your pick, tell me what you’ve done and what I’m missing – I’d love to hear. I’m chatting about this over on Twitter and Instagram, so check out the hashtag #SupportBooks or connect with me @Eva_Bec. Thank you.
1. Rate and review online. Go to Goodreads or your online bookstore of choice.
2. Tweet or Instagram mini-reviews or share photos of covers and quotes. Tag authors to spread the love.
3. Word of mouth recommendation is everything, tell your friends, family or followers which books you enjoy and encourage them to read.
4. Join an online book group – create one with friends or join an established one – whatever you’re reading – there’s a group for it.
5. Pre-order books! Getting published now sucks – years of work can be lost, so transform fortunes for new writers and keep momentum going for established ones.
6. Support virtual book tours and go to online talks.
7. Buy direct from publishers. If you have publisher you love – tell them – drop them an email, find out what they are doing in lockdown. Many are suffering now Amazon has removed the ‘buy’ button from many books.
8. Buy from independent bookshops. In the UK check out the crowdsourced map of indie bookshops and publishers or you can find a list on the Booksellers Association. In the USA go to Indiebound. Or just google your local bookshop, visit their website and find out what they’re doing. Email them – if they aren’t delivering, just telling them you care makes a difference.
9. Support bookshops that aren’t delivering. Buy from Hive in the UK or Bookshop in the USA to support local shops that can’t deliver – they’ll give a proportion of each sale to a store of your choice.
10. Don’t forget second-hand bookshops. A vital part of the books ecosystem – contact them & find out if they are still fulfilling orders.
11. Buy book tokens. Use now or as a gift for future self and those you love. A token of hope for when this is all over.
12. Libraries might be closed, but you can still get audio and ebooks. Check your local authority website to find out what your library is doing.
13. Support indie authors on Amazon. It’s often their only route into readers’ hands, so flex your Kindle or Audible subscription.
14. Go social. Follow your favourite authors, publishers, bookshops and libraries on all the socials, read their blogs, sign up to their newsletters. It’s free & will bring you so much joy & connection.