James Daunt, CEO of Waterstones, has said the coronavirus has led to “unprecedented demand” for books at the firm’s stores, and has called for all bookshops to be kept open through this crisis period in order to meet a social need.
Daunt added that sales, including online, were up 17% on Wednesday 18 March alone at Waterstones.
In an interview with The Bookseller, he said it was vital for all bookshops (not just his own) to remain open because they provided a social good, both for adults in self-isolation and for children kept home from school.
Waterstones sent out a newsletter to subscribers on 19 March with ideas for how to keep the kids busy at home, with links to titles useful for home learning and reading for pleasure.
The Booksellers Association has launched emergency measures to help shops weather the storm over the next few months, while the Society of Authors has put together a fund of £330,000 to help writers.