November 20, 2020

Association of Canadian Publishers statement on bookstores and COVID-19

All Canadians have a role to play in fighting COVID-19. For booksellers, that role includes serving communities and keeping Canadians reading. When Amazon deprioritized shipping of “non-essential” goods in the spring, bookstores ensured continued access to books in communities across the country.

Canadian bookstores introduced curbside pick-up and implemented health protocols to ensure the safety of staff and customers. Many independent bookstores launched online storefronts and home delivery for the first time. Working in partnership with publishers and literary festivals, bookstores are hosting online events and providing a platform for writers whose opportunity for in-person promotion has evaporated. Through this crisis, booksellers have demonstrated innovation in the ways they do business and their commitment to public health and the communities they serve.

Books are essential. They offer entertainment to those seeking an escape from the monotony of home, are critical to education and student success, and nurture a love of reading in young people. They introduce us to different lives and experiences and build understanding and empathy among diverse communities. They tell our stories and connect us during this isolating pandemic.

Ensuring safe, local access to books through the pandemic is essential. With Amazon’s warehouses overwhelmed with orders for countless products, local bookstores remain the most efficient way to connect new books to Canadian readers.

Canadian bookstores that can remain open and sell books safely want to continue to serve their communities. The Association of Canadian Publishers joins them in calling on provincial governments to ensure their services remain available.