SAN FRANCISCO—Local bookstores like Green Apple Books are being impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic resulting in a drop in revenue.
According to Stacy Mitchell of The American Prospect, Green Apple Books, an independent bookstore with three San Francisco locations, experienced an 80 percent decrease in sales during the few months when their stores were closed.
In an interview with the San Francisco News, Kevin Ryan, co-owner of Green Apple Books, said:
“The shutdown impacted us like a meteorite. Our supply chain slowed down, so we were not able to get books as quickly from publishers or suppliers.” He explained how after the shutdown began, a team of bookstore staffers processed internet orders from their homes. They shifted to curbside pickup with store employees outside distributing books to customers who ordered online. They also increased their social media presence and began offering virtual book readings.
Ryan told the San Francisco News that Green Apple Books has been open to the public for about a month now. He explained that the store’s new safety protocols in the age of COVID-19 mandate that all shoppers must wear masks, remain socially distant from others, and either wear gloves or sanitize hands before entering the store. All employees must wear masks as well, and the store has expanded its employee break rooms to ensure social distancing.
Despite all of these precautions, Ryan noted that customers still seem to prefer ordering books online rather than risk exposure by coming into the store. He estimates that there is “a 30-40% decrease in the amount of people coming to the store now compared to pre-COVID-19.”
While Green Apple Books remains open now, Ryan acknowledged the risk that the stores may have to shut down again if the virus continues unchecked.