New Dawn for Wexford’s bookshops

Several bookshops will be among those reopening in phase two of the easing of lockdown restrictions on Monday.  Among them will be Wexford towns Red Books which had only opened in St Peter’s Square six months before the pandemic.

“When we were informed about the lockdown in March, I really thought it was unlikely that we would survive it,”

Red Books owner Wally O Neill said. 

“The Independent bookshop industry has been in decline for years with the rise of Amazon and the chainstores.  What we were offering was niche and often involved holding live literature events and writing groups in the shop, which would be, and continues to be, impossible under social distancing restrictions.”

“An incredible thing happened however.  When people were at home in lockdown, they started picking up books again.  We were consistently contacted by people who described themselves as “lapsed readers” looking for recommendations and books to read.  Obviously escapist fiction and children’s books were in demand, but the requests were often varied.  We were able to deliver thanks to a very generous temporary delivery service that An Post introduced for booksellers.”

Mr O Neill said he was also overwhelmed with the level of support from regular customers. 

“You really find out who your friends are when the chips are down.  Our customers, local authors who frequent the shop and our reading community rallied behind us, sharing our social media adverts, helping organise online events and ordering books.  Even their kind messages were of huge benefit.”

Red Books will reopen at 10am on Monday but with restrictions in place. 

“We are limiting the amount of customers in the bookshop to three at any time, and have introduced a one way system around the shop.  Obviously these restrictions don’t favour browsing so we invite customers to take books out into the square to view at their pleasure in the sun.  We are also quarantining fresh stock for seventy two hours to avoid contamination.”

“We know people might be nervous about visiting the bookshop so we are continuing our nationwide delivery service and introducing a click&collect curb-side shopping option.  We are also offering private appointment browsing when the bookshop is closed to the public.  Our writing groups, bookclubs and LiveLit events will all remain solely online affairs for the coming months.”

“People can follow whats going on at the shop on our Facebook and Instagram pages, or email irishbooks@yahoo.com or text 0863220546 for further information.”

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