By Porter Anderson, Editor-in-Chief | @Porter_Anderson
Bookstores’ ‘Already Fragile Economic Situation’
The full text of the EIBF’s message, as released to news media, reads:
“As COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic continues to spread around the world, many countries are imposing drastic measures to try and contain it. In countries such as Italy, Spain, France, Germany, and Belgium, all stores considered as non-essential, bookstores among them, have been required to close. This prescribed closure of bookstores is a threat to financial sustainability of many businesses in the bookselling industry.
“Health and safety of all people and communities is top priority for all, but we need to recognize the impact prolonged closure will have on small- and medium-sized businesses that rely on physical presence of customers. Booksellers offer an important contribution to communities and society as a whole from educational, cultural, and financial point of view.
“Many booksellers are going above and beyond to sustain their services to customers–who are currently self-isolating at their homes–but they face numerous challenges. Many bookstores that our members represent have limited, or no, infrastructure to support online sales in these unprecedented times. In addition, while offering home deliveries, they are exposing themselves to higher risks.
“Closure of brick and mortar bookstores compromises their profitability and puts under question their, already fragile economic situation. Local bookstores greatly contribute to communities and districts, offering needed services, providing job opportunities, and contributing safe meeting spaces that online retailers can’t provide. Ensuring these businesses can overcome these uncertain times is critical to continuous sustainable development of local communities.
“All booksellers are anxiously waiting to reopen their stores, but they are not willing to compromise their health or the health of their customers and communities they enrich. This puts them at a disadvantage compared to giant online retailers, whose businesses are operating with minimal adjustments.
“We are appealing to governments worldwide to remember the importance of books in our society, and the positive impact bookstores have on local communities, and provide support and financial aid to protect the bookselling industry.
“It is critical we stand together in these uncertain times, as only by supporting each other we will come out stronger in the end.”
Hay Festival Fund Raiser Reaches £79,000
With its flagship Hay-on-Wye festival canceled because of the coronavirus crisis—its original dates were May 21 to 31—the nonprofit program has opened a £150,000 (US$176,653) fund-raising effort to cover its ticket income shortfall.
The Hay’s budget requires that 70 percent of its revenue be derived from those sales. And as ticket holders are refunded, that majority source of income has disappeared.
In a prepared statement, Hay co-founding director Peter Florence is quoted, saying, “As an organization we now face a stark reality. We have ten days to raise the funds we need to support us in the coming months and secure Hay Festival 2021 and a time when we can again celebrate together and tell stories of these times. Whatever you can spare will make a big difference. Every donation adds up.”
At this writing, Hay fans have responded with £79,104 (US$93,039), just over halfway to the appeal, which was instigated five days ago.
Organizers say that the planned series of international festivals is still intact, however, the Hay Festival Europa28 in Croatia looks threatened, with its dates set for June 3 to 5.
Other planned events may be more secure because of their spots on the calendar. They include:
At this point, the last successfully staged Hay Festival event was its debut Abu Dhabi effort in February.
In our Spring 2020 Magazine, Publishing Perspectives has interviewed publishers, industry experts, entrepreneurs, and authors to present a look at the book business for the coming year. Inside this issue of Publishing Perspectives Magazine, you’ll find articles and resources including:
Download ‘Publishing in Times of Crisis’ free of charge here.
About the Author
This content was originally published here.