What happens after movement control orders, social distancing, shelter in place, circuit breaking, etc.? Do we return to normal? And what will that new normal look like? Will people stop buying stuff from traditional shops? Will all transactions be henceforth online?
Since I run a traditional bookshop, that’s really scary. The best parts of being a bookseller, are the book-buyers and readers one meets, and the resulting conversations that take place. At Silverfish, we’re constantly meeting amazing customers and having amazing conversations. How boring to buy all your books online and never discuss your discoveries with fellow lovers.
I received an interesting email from Germany yesterday. Gerhard says that some shops have opened in his "kampong" — including bookshops! Wow, the Germans know something about “essential services”.
The following story is one I share from TIME . (https://time.com/5822767/coronavirus-bookstores-amazon/) They have a slightly different problem in the US where Amazon want’s to rule them all: some are taking aim at the Death Star itself.
Basically, Bookstore.org is using the Ingrams’ catalogue (they are huge distributors) from which participating bookshops select books they want to sell on their online platform. All sounds good in theory provided Amazon plays fair, which they never do. They will squeeze every ounce of juice from publishers and distributors, discount book prices like hell, chew and spit out the Indies all over gain. Scorched earth.
The only customers who shop will at Indie stores are those with an ounce of conscience, sense of fair play and know the value of books in a culture. Hopefully there will still be many remaining post-Covid. Same in Malaysia.
But the TIME story is interesting in many ways (in terms of ideas), especially this line about a French saying: “Sometimes you don’t understand how vital something is to your world until you miss it for awhile.”
Anyway, we hope to open soon. Watch this space.