Following the closures of all non-essential shops today, one Wexford Bookshop has devised a novel plan to survive the Covid-19 outbreak. Red Books in St Peter’s Square in Wexford town, which only opened last August, has introduced a free home book delivery service from New Ross to Enniscorthy.
“Books have always provided people with solace during difficult times,”
Red Books owner Wally O Neill said.
“With all libraries and bookshops now forcibly closed, there would seem to be a duty upon us to continue bringing books to our readers. It’s not an easy task as I work alone but closing down for up to six weeks is not a realistic option for a new business. If you do that, you won’t reopen.”
“We are abiding by all HSE guidelines with our deliveries and, as we don’t use a third party to deliver, our packages are actually less likely to be contaminated in any way. We really believe that this is the very safest, cheapest and handiest way to get books delivered to your home during this pandemic.”
“We have been busy uploading our stock to our social media accounts on Facebook (www.facebook.com/redbooksire) and Instagram and have introduced two cashless payment options.”
“We’ve obviously had to cancel all of our LiveLit events and writers groups, and the events that make bookshops stand out from online sellers, but we are adapting. We’ve just launched an online writers group using WhatsApp that will at least allow our writing community to stay in communication, and we are launching an online book club next week.”
Mr O’ Neill said that these were extremely trying days for small businesses and bookshops but he insisted that the bookshop would remain an offline business after this crisis has passed.
“We’re passionate about bricks and mortar bookshops, Amazon has turned bookselling into something cold and inhuman. When this is all over, Red Books will still be a place where people can come and browse through unkempt shelves with a cup of tea, chat with writers and artists and escape the stress of the modern world. Until then we will do whatever it takes to keep the ship afloat.”