We, too, are wondering when we will be able to safely welcome you back to your little, local indie bookstore. The truth is that we don’t have a definitive answer/date at this point in time. We are aware that some of Edwardsville’s local businesses are finding creative ways to reopen but Afterwords Books is unable to meet the guidelines set forth by the Illinois Department of Health in order to do so.
If you have not had the opportunity to read this impressively clear explanation of how the virus spreads by Dr. Erin Bromage, it’s very informative:
“When assessing the risk of infection (via respiration) at the grocery store or mall, you need to consider the volume of the air space (very large), the number of people (restricted), how long people are spending in the store (workers – all day; customers – an hour). Taken together, for a person shopping: the low density, high air volume of the store, along with the restricted time you spend in the store, means that the opportunity to receive an infectious dose is low. *But, for the store worker, the extended time they spend in the store provides a greater opportunity to receive the infectious dose and therefore the job becomes more risky.”*
We often describe Afterwords Books as “your cozy little neighborhood bookstore” and that’s precisely the reason why we won’t be opening our doors any time soon. It’s true that, with the exception of Saturdays and during events, that most times there are only a handful of folks browsing and so one might argue that the number of people in the store at any given time poses a lower risk (but a risk nonetheless), but there’s no denying that our air space is not large and that my personal risk with shoppers coming and going is much higher, making the potential for me to pass the virus on to another greater.
When we made the difficult decision to close the shop (before any mandates were issued) , we did so in order to protect the most vulnerable members of our community. We were optimistic that, if everyone followed the CDC’s guidelines, our closure would be relatively brief and, though financially challenging, we would bounce back once we were able to open our doors again. As each week passes, our confidence wavers but we’re still hopeful with each ‘Boredom Busting Bookstore Bundle’ (visit us on Facebook and Instagram for more details!) we sell for porch pick up,
our online sales of new book purchases with our partners at Bookshop and Libro.fm, https://bookshop.org/shop/afterwordsbooks, www.libro.fm/afterwordsbooks, gift cards sold, and book donations, that sunnier days are ahead and that we’ll have the opportunity to welcome everyone back to the bookstore and celebrate our community’s resilience. In the meantime, we’re happy to announce that you may now apply your gift cards to new book purchases (we will happily order new titles for you and arrange for porch pick up!) and that, coming soon, we will offer online shopping of our used book inventory that you are welcome to apply exisiting store credit toward!
Gift certificates are available in increments of $1 to $10,000, to be redeemed once we have the all clear, and we’ll happily mail them to you or your recipient or arrange for porch pick up. Just message us on Facebook, drop us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, or call the shop Tuesday-Thursday, 10am-1pm, to make payment arrangements.
Looking for ways to support other small businesses in our community? Purchasing gift cards now will provide some much appreciated cash flow to cover expenses and you’ll be able to tuck those away to redeem when we’ve received the all clear or to send to someone for a special surprise and something to look forward to. And, as always, sharing social media posts and tagging your favorite businesses doesn’t cost you a thing but goes a long way in spreading the word about the wonderful, independent businesses in our city. Looking forward to making many more memories with you, our little bookstore family.
Until that time, we urge you to stay safe, Friends.
Afterwords wishes you and yours happy and healthy days ahead.