Keep Calm and Keep Reading
QUICK UPDATE ON CURBSIDE PICKUP, WEB ORDERS, AND OUR MISSION, FRIDAY, JUNE 5:
Though the website does not offer curbside pickup as an option yet, you can request it in the notes to your order and we will remove the shipping charges, with the exception of orders in which having a book or books shipped directly to you will be the most timely option for quick delivery. Just request curbside pickup in the notes and choose the least expensive shipping option (media mail). We will remove or adjust the shipping when we process your order.
Please note, also, that in the past 10 days we, and most of our independent bookstore colleagues, have experienced a huge surge in online orders, especially for books dealing with racism, racial justice, white supremacy, etc. We are all gratified that you are turning to books, and to us, as you seek information and answers, but the result is that many of the books you are looking for are sold out everywhere. We are reordering like mad, and will gladly accept orders so that you will be in the queue when the books arrive back in the store. Because of coronavirus protocols, publishers and their printers are not able to reprint as quickly as they were in the past.
This influx of orders, with our still limited staff, has caused us to fall behind in processing your orders. Never fear, we are working diligently to catch up, and to prepare for an eventual re-opening of the store. We ask for your patience as we work through the backlog.
The struggle for racial, social, and economic justice has been at the core of our mission as booksellers for the past 4+ decades, along with providing a space in which the voices of the under- and un-represented can be heard. It is time for all of us not to begin to listen but to really, really listen, with full attention and without pre-conception, to those voices.
Please bear with us as we continue to navigate all these issues together--clean hands, tight masks, clear vision, open minds, full hearts.
We’ve been silent in this space over the past weeks, but not idle. We’ve been busy filling the heartening stream of orders from so many of you. The volume of orders has kept the reduced staff working very hard; Jon in the store everyday on the phone and processing all the orders, Alicia at home handling all the direct to home orders, Lucy and Martha in for a few hours most days to open mail and take care of administrative tasks, with Tim and volunteer Jean Dickson making sure all the packages make it out the door and into the delivery stream. Our apologies for the times when we fall behind; sometimes the order stream becomes a bit of a flood. The store is strewn with packing materials and piles of books as we have transformed from a retail outlet to a faux warehouse—and it is quiet, way more quiet than a bookstore should ever be. We miss the conversations, and we think the books do too. They appreciate company and visitors and are probably sick to death of spending so many days mostly alone with Jon, so focused on acknowledging and responding to your orders that he barely nods hello When we can finally open our doors again, the cheers from the books could well deafen the whole neighborhood.
Hopeful news this past week—as of Monday, May 19, we can officially offer contact free curbside pickup and local delivery in addition to mailing books near and far. Re-opening the store is on the horizon, but we have a lot of questions about what that means and what it will look like, for you and for us, as we strive to maintain a safe environment to work, browse, and shop in. Even in the empty shop we wear masks and gloves, keep our distance and wash and disinfect our hands and computers, door knobs and machinery...we are all wigged out by this whole thing and are hyper-cautious. We are monitoring what our colleagues around the country are doing as they open, and learning what the NY guidelines will be as the possibility of reopening nears. We will only open when we feel confident all of us are as safe as possible.
We are so incredibly grateful for all who have been ordering books, calling, and generally offering support and goodwill. We do not take this support for granted. While we continue to hope that we and all bookstores will survive, that only happens if people who can continue to buy books for themselves and, we hope, for the less fortunate as well. Whatever bookstores morph into will be reliant on the health of the local and national economy. While continued hard work and dedication will certainly keep us afloat for the time being, we know that these will not guarantee survival. Your goodwill and dedication are as critical as the work of staff. You have shown us that you more than have our back, you are nurturing our spirit. We have been utterly gobsmacked by your support over the past nine weeks. We will keep trying our hardest to come out the other side as something resembling an independent bookstore, a necessary place and space where people and books and stories and ideas live and breathe, collide and mesh, sing and dance, inspire and inform.
Thanks to all who have donated to the Say Yes / Talking Leaves campaign to provide gift certificates for this year’s graduating public school seniors. We’re only $1600 short of the $10,000 goal. You can help your local indie bookstore and help make graduation more meaningful this year for the class of 2020. Details and the donation page are here: https://sayyesbuffalo.wedid.it/campaigns/7544
With much affection and gratitude, and wishes that you all stay well and safe, and keep reading, until we can meet again in this special place we call an independent bookstore.