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美国独立书店艰难地翻开冠状病毒时代的新篇章

2020-10-23 13:21

 

2020年10月13日,美国阿卡迪亚书店的店主凯伦·克鲁普在美国洛杉矶县的书店工作。“生存还是毁灭……”这是许多独立书店老板面临的问题,因为他们成了COVID-19大流行的又一个受害者。随着消费者的购买习惯从以前那种轻松的、面对面的浏览方式转向网上购买,独立书店和连锁书店遭受了打击。现在,为生存而战的独立书店老板们真正展示了他们的勇气,他们想出了创新的方法来服务他们的忠实顾客,并接触新的顾客。(新华社)

 

新华社洛杉矶10月22日电洛杉矶奥德街一家书店的橱窗上写着“一美元一磅”的告示,上面写着“成千上万的书需要清理,而所有的书都以同样的价格出售。”


洛杉矶唐人街仅有的几家新书店之一长城图书文化书店(Great Wall Books & Culture)现在的老板是来自中国广东的移民于玉鹏(Yu Yu Yu upeng)。这家书店经营了25年之后,发现自己被迫永久关闭了这家书店。


“我的生意在大流行之前就不景气了,因为独立书店正面临着来自电子商务的日益激烈的竞争。他还补充说,他的书店在疫情爆发几个月后因新冠病毒协议而暂时关闭。


“我希望尽快卖掉所有的书。我得付房租、水电费、养家糊口,”他对新华社哀叹道。


“生存还是毁灭……”这是许多独立书店老板面临的问题,因为他们成为了这场流行病的又一个受害者。


随着消费者的购买习惯从以前那种轻松的、面对面的浏览方式转向网上购买,独立书店和连锁书店遭受了打击。亚马逊现在占据了美国销售的大部分书籍。


但近年来,附近的书店已经有了复苏迹象,流行的浪漫主义诗歌阅读社区场馆在约会之夜,迷人的“满足作者”鸡尾酒晚会,下午孩子小时,或者仅仅是一个悠闲的一天浏览最新的纽约时报畅销书或发现一个名不见经传的绝版工作打开了一个独特窗口一个逝去的时代。


“书店是社区的中心,”洛杉矶拉奇蒙特村颇受欢迎的Chevalier’s Books的共同所有人Bert Deixler告诉新华社。“我们不想成为一个只点击而不联系的亚马逊。我们喜欢人们来这里,相互交谈,结识著名作家,一起享用美酒和奶酪。”


这家书店成立于1940年,是洛杉矶最古老的独立书店。


但是,从3月15日开始,像许多其他“非必要”的业务一样,加州各地的书商在新冠病毒爆发时不得不关闭他们的大门,使他们的客户失去了他们喜爱的友好的、面对面的社区中心。


彭博社(Bloomberg)报道称,在疫情爆发的初期,为独立书商提供援助的非营利性图书行业慈善基金会(Book Industry Charitable Foundation)收到了超过670家书店的申请,这些书店希望获得紧急财政援助以维持运营。


现在,为生存而战的独立书店老板们真正展示了他们的勇气,他们想出了创新的方法来服务他们的忠实顾客,并接触新的顾客。


拉奇蒙特心爱的谢瓦利埃(Chevalier)的图书正面临绝种。他们找到了另一个地方,但租金非常高——是他们之前租金的两倍多——而且他们知道他们不能独自完成。


“我们向我们的社区邮件列表中3000或4000人发出通知,说只有你们支持我们,我们才能这样做。我们不知道会发生什么。但人们排着队来买书和礼券,还有很多人也在网上购物来支持我们。”


他们的一个客户买了一张1万美元的礼券,送给了市中心的一个教会。另一个客户以25美元的价格为他的朋友和家人买了40个会员资格,而著名的作家们也卷起袖子,自愿把书搬到街对面的新网站。


“我们能被真正关心我们的人包围是多么幸运啊,”黛克斯勒感激地沉思着。


黛克斯勒警告说:“除非情况尽快改变,否则美国将面临失去几代独立书商托管的文学文化遗产的危险。”


阿卡迪亚书店的店主凯伦·克鲁普也得到了忠实顾客的支持,尽管仍在网上销售,但一次只接待少量游客。据其网站显示,这家书店在阿卡迪亚已有超过25年的历史。

 

“我们还在这里。每一天都是新的一天,我们必须把每一天都看作是一种祝福。”


但遗憾的是,许多其他书商将无法做到这一点。美国书商协会在上周的一份声明中称,今天全国大约20%的独立书店面临关闭的危险。


“人们可能意识不到‘便利性’购物的成本和后果,直到为时已晚。自Covid-19危机开始以来,每周都有不止一家独立书店关门。与此同时,一份报告预测,在10月13日和14日的Prime Day促销活动中,亚马逊将产生100亿美元的收入,”美国书商协会首席执行官艾莉森·k·希尔在声明中说。


“独立书店的关闭意味着当地工作和税收的损失;社区中心的丧失;读者失去了发现书籍并与其他读者面对面交流的机会,”希尔指出。


“新长城”的用户之一Lawrence Lao告诉新华社,“电子书越来越流行是不可避免的,尤其是在科技飞速发展的时代,对于年轻一代来说。无论是纸质书还是电子书都是文化的传播者。”


但他说,对他来说,“到书店买纸质书现在更像是一种文化偏好。”

 

Karen Kropp, owner of The Book Rack bookshop in Arcadia, works at the bookshop in Los Angeles County, the United States, on Oct. 13, 2020. "To be or not to be ..." that's the question that many independent bookstore owners are confronting as they become yet another casualty of the COVID-19 pandemic. Independent bookstores and bookstore chains have been taking a beating as consumer buying habits shifted to online purchases and away from the relaxed, in-person browsing they'd previously enjoyed. Now, fighting to survive, independent bookstore owners are really showing their mettle as they come up with innovative ways to serve their loyal customers and reach out to new ones. (Xinhua)

LOS ANGELES, Oct. 22 (Xinhua) -- "One dollar a pound," read a notice on the shop windows of a bookstore at Ord street, Los Angeles, noting that "tens of thousands of books needed to be cleaned up, and all books are sold at the same price."

The New Great Wall Books & Culture, one of the few bookstores in LA's Chinatown, now owned by Yu Yupeng, an immigrant from Guangdong, China, finds itself forced to shutter the bookstore forever after 25 years in business.

"My business was rather depressed even before the pandemic as independent bookstores are facing increasing competition from e-commerce. And coronavirus has made matters worse," Yu told Xinhua, adding that his bookstore was temporarily closed several months after the outbreak of the pandemic due to COVID-19 protocols.

"I hope to sell all books as soon as possible. I have to pay rent, utility fees and support my family," he lamented to Xinhua.

"To be or not to be ..." that's the question that many independent bookstore owners are confronting as they become yet another casualty of the pandemic.

Independent bookstores and bookstore chains have been taking a beating as consumer buying habits shifted to online purchases and away from the relaxed, in-person browsing they'd previously enjoyed. Amazon now accounts for the majority of all books sold in the United States.

But in recent years, neighborhood bookstores had been making something of a comeback as popular community venues for romantic poetry readings on date night, glamorous "Meet the Author" cocktail soirees, afternoon children's hour, or just a leisurely day of thumbing through the latest New York Times bestseller or discovering an obscure or out-of-print work that opens a unique window on a bygone era.

"Bookstores are the center of the community," Bert Deixler, co-owner of popular Chevalier's Books in Larchmont village in Los Angeles told Xinhua. "We don't want to be an Amazon that just clicks through with no contact. We like people to come, talk to each other, meet famous authors, and enjoy some wine and cheese together."

Founded in 1940, the bookstore claims the title of oldest independent bookstore in LA.

But, as of March 15, like many other "non-essential" businesses, booksellers all across California had to shutter their doors when COVID-19 struck, robbing their clientele of the friendly, in-person community hub they love.

Bloomberg has reported that during the early stages of the outbreak, the non-profit Book Industry Charitable Foundation, which provides assistance to independent booksellers, was swamped with requests from over 670 stores seeking emergency financial aid to stay afloat.

Now, fighting to survive, independent bookstore owners are really showing their mettle as they come up with innovative ways to serve their loyal customers and reach out to new ones.

Forced out by their landlord to make way for a big national chain instead, Larchmont's beloved Chevalier's Books was facing extinction. They found another place, but the rent was very high - more than double their previous rent - and they knew they couldn't do it alone.

"We put a note out to our community email list of 3000 or 4000 people and said we can only do this if you support us. We didn't know what to expect. But people were lined up to buy books and gift certificates and many others have been buying online too to support us," Deixler said.

One of their clients bought a 10,000 dollar gift certificate and gave it to a mission downtown. Another client bought 40 memberships for his friends and family at 25 dollars a pop, while famous authors are rolling up their sleeves and volunteering to schlep books across the street to their new site.

"How lucky can we be to be surrounded by people who really care," Deixler mused gratefully.

"Unless things change soon, America is in danger of losing a literary cultural heritage that has been held in trust by independent booksellers for generations," warned Deixler.

Karen Kropp, owner of The Book Rack bookshop in Arcadia has also had a lot of support from her loyal customers and, though still selling online, has reopened for small numbers of visitors at a time. The bookstore has been in Arcadia for over 25 years, according to its website.

"We are still here. Every day is a new day and we must count each day as a blessing," she told Xinhua.

But sadly, many other booksellers are not going to make it. Around 20 percent of independent bookstores across the country are in danger of closing today, the American Booksellers Association said in a statement last week.

"People may not realize the cost and consequences of 'convenience' shopping until it's too late. More than one indie bookstore a week has closed since the Covid-19 crisis began. At the same time, a report forecasts that Amazon will generate 10 billion dollars in revenue on October 13 and 14 during its Prime Day promotion," Allison K. Hill, the CEO of the American Booksellers Association, said in the statement.

"Closed indie bookstores represent the loss of local jobs and local tax dollars; the loss of community centers; and the loss of opportunities for readers to discover books and connect with other readers in a meaningful face-to-face way," Hill noted.

One of the New Great Wall's customer, Lawrence Lao, told Xinhua, "It's inevitable that e-books are more and more popular, especially for the younger generation in an era when technology is developing rapidly. No matter - print books or e-books are both conveyers of culture."

But he said, for him, "coming to a bookstore and buy print books is more of a cultural preference now."

 

原作者: Julia Pierrepont III,高山 来自: xinhua