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Iconic New York Bookstore Flooded With $200,000 in Orders After Plea to Fans Helped Avert Closure


While you can’t always tell a book by its cover, it seems like you can tell a bookstore by its customers, and an iconic store in New York has very devoted fans.

Strand Book Store / Facebook

Like anyone who has seen the movie You’ve got mail You know, independent booksellers suffered a huge setback when the big box stores came on the scene. With growing competition from giant online book sellers like Amazon, traditional bookstores had to rely on their loyal customer base.

A brilliant example is that of New York City. Strand Library, known worldwide for its “18 miles of books”. A fixture of Greenwich Village since 1927, the Strand is the only remaining establishment of the 48 bookstores that once ran along the famous 4th Avenue Book Row.

Unfortunately, with the Covid-19 pandemic reducing crucial foot traffic, store owner Nancy Bass Wyden, the granddaughter of the original store owner, was faced with the dire prospect of having to close the Strand doors for good.

In a last-ditch effort to save his beloved family business, Bass Wyden reached out to his customer base with a request for help. “I’m going to do my best,” he tweeted, “to continue sharing our mutual love for the printed word. But for the first time in Strand’s 93-year history, we need to mobilize the community to buy from us so that we can keep our doors open until there is a vaccine. “

The response from Strand’s loyal clientele came in the form of a flood of 25,000 orders over the course of a single weekend that crashed the store’s website and generated roughly $ 200,000 in sales. (An enthusiastic customer from the Bronx ordered 197 books.)

This was followed by lines around the block at the store’s flagship location on Broadway and East 12th Street in lower Manhattan when the store opened.

MORE: 100-year-old bookstore flooded with orders after heartbreaking ‘Grass Fall Day’ tweet

“How can I not love my book community for helping in this way?” Bass Wyden said in an interview with The Washington Post. “I really don’t think we’re just a bookstore. I believe we are a place of discovery and a community center. When I ask for help and they respond so quickly, it’s very comforting. “

Having suffered heavy financial losses earlier in the year, even with the incredible outpouring of love and a much-needed cash infusion, the Strand is still not out of the woods, but Bass Wyden is determined not to give up.

RELATED: After Chicago Becomes One of the Largest Cities in the US to Ditch Backed Library Fees, Book Returns Increase by 240%

“As a third-generation owner,” she said, “I’ve tried to imagine what my father and grandfather would do right now after spending their entire lives — 6 days a week — working in the store. I don’t think they wanted me to give up without a fight. “

In the The bookstore book, bestselling author Jen Campbell wrote: “Printed books are magic, and real bookstores keep that magic alive… Are bookstores still relevant? They certainly are. All bookstores are full of stories and the stories want to be heard ”.

CHECK OUT: Culturally rich: more Americans visited your library in 2019 than movies, by far

As long as The Strand has stories to tell, there will be people willing to do their part to help keep that magic alive.

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