|Home, sweet barn! I got used to isolation....|
If you know me or if you’ve been reading this blog for the last few weeks and months, you’ll know I was very nervous about re-opening my bookstore, and I was not alone in that, either: a dear friend retired from the bookstore business was worried about me, too. So preparation, planning, and precautions were in order – as they are these days for all of us, whatever we’re doing.
First came a curatorial cleaning, in which I was helped and outright directed (I needed direction!) by a friend experienced with the care of collections. Following that came a week or two (I forget already how long the next phase lasted) where customers could stop by to pick up special orders. And then on July 1, with all due care (masks required, hand sanitizer for those wanting to handle books, limit of six customers at a time in the shop), I re-opened my bookstore to the public for the first time since the Saturday following Thanksgiving 2019.
And so far it's been going very well!
I have been pleased with and grateful to people who have visited Dog Ears Books during our first week back in business. Not one single person has complained about the mask requirement! In fact, not one person has even stuck an unmasked face through the doorway! Yesterday a couple paused at the door to ask if there was room for them in the shop, and, since they were #5 and #6, I invited them on in, whereupon another man said he would pay for his book and leave to make room for someone else. Consideration for others, wonderfully, is the order of the day in my bookstore.
Also, more than one customer has told me that one of the hardest things about the long weeks of stay-at-home/quarantine was not being able to browse in bookstores, and I sense a new realization on the part of the public that being able to visit a bookstore is not as certain as every day’s sunrise and sunset. Relief and gratitude translates more easily into sales now than it might have a year ago, too. We’re here now, but none of us can see the future, so today is the day to buy that book found so serendipitously!
I sold my last copy of Kathleen Stocking’s From the Place of the Gathering Light: Leelanau Pieces, and who knows when that book may be reprinted? Not this summer, I’m sure. Another woman was looking for something positive and encouraging and was happy to purchase Emita Hill’s Northern Harvest: Twenty Women in Food and Farming. Those oral histories are certainly encouraging stories. Other readers are grappling with difficult issues in American history – or turning to fiction for a pleasant, if temporary escape.
There are many different kinds of books and an almost infinite number of individual titles desirable and/or pertinent and/or enlightening during this strange and unsettling, very unsettled summer of 2020, a time of pandemic and a time of national reassessment. I’m glad to be here, with books available (and new orders going out and new books coming in every week), and I hope the consideration and safety of our first week continues through the rest of the summer. Thanks, everyone!