Amid the current pandemic of Coronavirus (Corvid-19), bookstores across the world are struggling with decreased footfall and in some cases closures as people follow advice to social distance or self-isolate themselves if they think they might be ill. In Bejing, however, they’ve come up with an innovative way to get books into the hands of readers without them even having to visit a store.
Co-launched by food delivery company Meituan Dianping and the municipal government of Beijing, the new scheme teams up with an initial 72 bookstores to allow readers to get books delivered via their food delivery app.
“Due to the epidemic, 80% of physical bookstores are closed. Although many of them try to launch online programs to keep customers, it doesn’t make a substantial income for stores… companies want the government to coordinate more resources and platforms to help them,” explained the publicity department of the Beijing Municipal Committee in an interview with local media.
The bookstores featured in the first batch to join the new scheme will not have to pay a fee to have their books delivered to readers, and bookworms will be able. Meanwhile, Bejing has also initiated other measures to help keep their bookshops afloat during this difficult time including; subsidizing rent, rewarding bookstores that can stay open during the epidemic and encouraging shops to expand their sales channels towards the online sphere.
This news comes as bookshops in the UK are also moving much of their sales to online and in many cases are offering local delivery for free. To find out if you’re local bookstore are delivering, head to their website, social media platforms or drop them a call, and continue to support your independent bookshop through this epidemic.