Buying books online or from a bookstore under the COVID-19 pandemic came with a hefty price of a tireless wait. As businesses and industries all over India were put on a standstill, education too was added to the interval. The unavoidable nation-wide lockdown shut all schools, private libraries, bookstores, and book cafes with no source of purchasing books or renting one. This led to an enormous financial loss to the bookstores due to a halt in services and deliveries. With unlock 1.0 in motion, bookstore owners are now using social media as a tool to sell online and build a network.
The Impact of Kindle on Bookstores
The launch of Amazon Kindle, which gives free access to ebooks, came as a huge threat to independent bookstores who sell traditional printed copies. Furthermore, many apps today allow writing and publishing books independently with book shop owners rising cornered with the transition. But due to the pandemic and extended lockdowns, this line-up has begun thinking out of the box and attempting to accept the ever-evolving social media at their advantage. The pandemic has proved that social media can be a boon to anyone who knows how to use it wisely. It has come out to be the best of the blessings in disguise!
Pre-orders for the books had commenced online and deliveries began after 31st May 2020. The deliveries took longer than usual due to the delay in receiving substantial updates by the government. Hence, all the bookstores registered online are now working according to the norms as stated by the authorities. Precautionary measures in terms of packaging and shipping with adhering to safety norms at the time of delivery are done on the utmost priority.
Indulge In Hobby during Lockdown
With additional time in hand and rising numbers of coronavirus cases, this has been an apt time to indulge in some fun fiction reading or learning a new subject out of hobby/ recreational activity. Thanks to websites like Amazon, along with Kindle, it also began to deliver books as essentials after a month into lockdown.
Many devised different ways to connect to people. Online book review competition and question-answer sessions on different books were some of the many things that were scheduled by leading bookstore chains.
How Books Help To Shape Your Thoughts
A few readers also shared their stories on how reading books have shaped their lives and made them better human beings. Moreover, online reading sessions on Instagram live or zoom app gained a lot of attention from the readers. Reading sessions witnessed major responses from across the globe. Many readers reverted to bookstores sharing their experience and suggesting to hold such programs in the coming times as well.
However, some bookstores like oxford have personalized apps to sell their ebooks and audiobooks. There are options for a one-time payor subscription-based. Many local authors have sent in their books to be sold on these platforms. This has opened new doors for aspiring writers and amateur content creators. Many unpublished books of writers are now published on these platforms and writers could not be more thankful.
eBook or Old-School?
Undoubtedly, bookstores still fear the fact of social media and the internet completely taking over the industry. But readers express their love for real books time and again. After months of being caught at home, the first thing readers want to do is hop into their favorite bookstore and read for as long as they can. Nothing can match the love of books.
Well, social media has helped the bookstores to keep their loyal customers intact with various interactive sessions. These sessions are highly appreciated by people across the world. Many people could connect to authors and people overseas and know more about the reading world. This online transition was difficult but with creativity and participation, it was a hit amongst the readers.
However, we cannot overlook the disastrous effects of the pandemic on reading and learning the traditional way. No sales and deliveries have left the industry in a vulnerable situation. Amrita Somaiya, owner of Kitab Khana in Mumbai, says the whole industry and the country are suffering. One has to wise during unlock 1.0, taking things steady – One day at a time.