Bookstores remain open during closure

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I had the impression of buying Céline’s pamphlets under the coat in a clandestine pharmacy … Stéphane, a young Parisian father, enjoys having his first smuggling experience in mid-April. He chose and paid for books (7 children’s albums and two novels) on the website of a bookseller near his home, who arranged to meet him before his closed curtain and stretched his order from afar. Fortunately, in-store pickup (or “click-and-collect”) is legal. Besides, it existed before confinement.

→ LIVE – Coronavirus: the latest information in France and worldwide

In our unique situation, it has allowed many reading enthusiasts to stock up. The forced fasting of the first weeks only made its launch, initially discreet and urban, then widespread in France, more satisfactory, despite the hiccups and waiting times of several days. ” There is a treasure side », Stéphane adds. ” We opened the package and savored the contents as something rare and precious. Suddenly it was magical to be able to buy a book

Participate in people’s lives

Some booksellers have launched themselves, others on the basis of a local initiative. In Autun, the town hall, the community of communes and the merchants’ association have set up a shuttle system to the surrounding villages. La Promesse de l’Aaube can continue to sell one of its 30,000 items in stock.

→ EXPLANATION. How to reopen bookstores?

I worked on the website to make it attractive and lively, so that our customers can find our mark and their habits there, explains the bookseller Évelyne Levallois. We then launched the “Half-Open Bookstore”, which allows people to come to the doorstep to pick up their parcels on market days. In this isolated situation, I had the impression of participating in the life of people, who wanted to take care of their children, to give a gift to their grandmother …

The booksellers explain that these sales in no way compensate for the cessation of their activity, nor will they alleviate the debts that accumulate, but that they see themselves as a service for their customers. They wouldn’t like to see habits taken elsewhere. ” By participating in the shuttle, we create flow for others, florist, roaster, wine merchant. When we reopen, we want to find all the shops in our neighborhood “, Insists Évelyne Levallois, aware her colleagues of the need to invent new methods to be registered over time.

Keep in touch with customers

Olivier Rouard, who runs the five Charlemagne bookshops in Var (Toulon, Hyères, Fréjus, La Seine-sur-Mer, La Valette) hopes that this period will open up to positive reflexes: Everyone is attached to the book. There is a way to keep in touch, and perhaps the public can turn to more local consumption. The relationship with the other is important to get out of this health crisis ” During the confinement, he made the choice to continue the sales in withdrawal and delivery ” to stay in touch with our customers and not leave the field to Amazon

At La Procure, the mail-order sale of items in stock reopened in early April after closing to ensure the health safety of staff. A collection service on market days is also offered at the Procure store in Versailles. ” We are considering for the Ile-de-France a proposal for the most fragile, explains Jean-Baptiste Passé, director of the Procure bookstores. A more personalized delivery system, especially to retirement homes from which residents cannot leave. For example the weekly visit to a pocket bookstore

→ ANALYSIS. Covid-19: the expectant book sector

On the website of the professional magazine Livres Hebdo, an interactive map lists the booksellers who collect or deliver: books ordered on the website of the bookstore depending on stocks, parcels picked up by appointment in front of the store or at the neighboring creamery, or delivered to one or two points in the department.

A new profession of bookseller

At the Blue Orange, at Orange, you can pick up the books or have them delivered by bicycle. We can pay after the end of confinement if we prefer to avoid contact, and the bookseller is also available every morning ” for telephone advice conversations by email

In Sète, it is on his scooter that the enthusiastic Sophie Dulin delivers her customers of L’échappée belle. Like many, she gave herself a first period of reflection of three weeks before embarking, to be sure that she could respect the sanitary conditions.

This was possible by relying on only the two co-managers, by not making the four employees work. ” Larger bookstores don’t have this flexibility, explains Sophie Dulin. On is doing a new job and you have to do it alone. We are alone in our bookstore, we take orders, we deliver, we prepare to reopen, we look for practical solutions, gels, plexiglass … In the evening we have to feed the website to try to bring up the books we have in stock , which we usually physically advise the client. To bring back themes, to create diversity … To continue our profession.

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