Swept into the dancing tornado of COVID-19 and the UK’s third national lockdown, small businesses, businesses such as bookstores, have experienced a gap. Selling books online and selling books physically has changed, more than 850 bookstores in the UK have yet to join the growing business online.

Bookshop.org is a website that aims to financially support local and independent bookstores, by creating and easy and convenient way for bibliophiles to buy books and assist bookstores at the same time. Over £950,000 has been raised through donations and pays a 30% commission on every sale to indie bookstores who use bookshop. It is pleasantly easy to use, as a customer, as anyone can make an account and subscribe to the newsletter with a few taps on your keyboard.

Bookstores as well can rejoice in the effective simplicity of the website, they feature a single page, with profile information and links to social media – ‘storefronts’ are also available create and feature a short bio section, social media profiles, and a series of book lists curated by your store to entice customers.

To keep this trade alive, Bookshop are not selling audiobooks or eBooks, and many prefer it that way, missing the printed paper that somehow has more personality than a flashing screen; even second-hand books, with worn pages from eager fingertips and forgotten covers, appeal more to a sense of aestheticism. Data released in 2017 shows that only 5% of readers prefer to read from just digital books and 35% favour the physical copy.

Uncertain of the future, it is gratifying to see bookstores seek and find solutions during quarantine, to stay connected with readers and authors and keep the nationwide community flourishing.