From 6 Feet Away I’ve Never Felt Closer

Kenny Brechner -- March 26th, 2020

I’ve been wanting to post for days but to have a bookstore is to have a second persona and when that persona is threatened with extinction every ounce of productive energy is directed toward its survival. It didn’t help that anything I drafted in my mind to post about had become irrelevant within 24 hours. What I thought I’d do is just share the DDG state of the union.

We are still open for curbside, phone orders and online sales, and hanging in there with as much aplomb as being bone tired allows. Given that my four alarm to do list keeps growing and not shrinking it may be of interest to look at the stuff I’m actually making time to do other than processing orders.

Messaging:
Staying ahead with messaging has been much akin to staying ahead of the giant rolling boulder in the Indiana Jones movie. Here is my messaging for today, to be flung onto my newsletter and a Facebook post.

Do you know that feeling of intellectual and emotional vertigo which comes when you encounter in a book an aspect of your interior world that you have never before encountered outside your own mind? That powerful affirmation is the core of independent community bookselling, the meeting, sharing and interconnecting of our interior worlds through books .  
 

The world we gradually emerge into upon the terminus of this crisis will be a different world than the familiar, ever receding place we so recently inhabited. That makes it all the more important to carry with us things of great value during the difficult passage between the two worlds. Pre-eminent among such things of value is our physical community. There is no reason for temporary necessity to cause us to lose our adhesion to each other and thereby embrace the narrative of social isolation and digital translation of community as a permanent way of being rather than a transitory necessity.  One can’t help reflect that social isolation is the endgame online retailers have been training people to believe is the future for  years. It would be a terrible mistake, however, to be passive about the nature of the post pandemic world. There is so much we cannot control that the things we are able to cleave to and carry across are all the more precious.

As we remain at least six feet away from you we have never felt closer to all of you. Though our shopping floor is closed we have never taken more satisfaction in making book recommendations than we have in these last ten days across the doorway, over the phone and by email. We thank you for your presence. your  engagement and your support with all our hearts and look forward to maintaining the ties that bind from a few short paces away in the days ahead.

Community Outreach:
I reached out to our School district superintendent and offered to donate all our available ARCS to be given out during their weekly meal deliveries to students who participate in the lunch program. We are providing both childrens and adult books so that the whole family can read together.

I reached out to the shuttered Downtown Farmington Business owners to talk about a group letter to the community. Truth to say I am very worried about my Downtown neighbors and what the town will look like on the other side of this. We are the only retailer with an online ecommerce presence and the only store still functioning. To feel that one has wandered into the wrong movie theater one only needs to wander into Dpwntown Farmington .

Online Infrastructure:
The moment I saw what was coming i spent time building stuff I thought I would need. A really successful one is our Mysterious 3 book bundles.

These have been a big hit, as you can see from this customer comment on Facebook.

Another nice thing is that it allows us to sell from our existing stock. Another project I put frenzied time into was flinging up a version of our Learning Resources section. With schools shut down the section was needed like never before. The irony of course was that that it was inaccesible most because our shopping floor was closed too Hence…

I need to build it out more but haven’t had time. In fact I’m out of time now and need to eat and head to the store. My thoughts are with everyone.
Your pal,
Kenny

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