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  • NYS Writers Institute

Indie bookstores, we support you!

More news on our #IndieBookstoreBoostinitiative to support the Capital Region’s indie bookstores...

Have you read Jack Rightmyer's story about indie bookstores? Headlined "Indie bookstores in Capital Region staying afloat, for now," you can find the full story online at -- here's a link -- It will be featured in the Sunday Times Union. on Sunday, May 10.

Here is an excerpt *. Check back next week for more author interviews with Writers Institute Director Paul Grondahl and WAMC Northeast Public Radio Book Show host Joe Donahue.

Indie bookstores in Capital Region staying afloat, for now

By Jack Rightmyer, Special to the Times Union

With so many local businesses shut down due to COVID-19, the worry is how many of them will survive. As we shelter inside watching television, putting together jigsaw puzzles and reading books many of us are getting comfortable with ordering online through Amazon and having what we want arrive at our homes. Though that is a convenience, local bookstore owners and advocates say supporting their businesses through online shopping, curbside pickup and other means will help them bounce back and stay a part of the fabric of their neighborhoods.

​“This is a time when everyone who loves books and literature needs to come together,” said Paul Grondahl, director of the New York State Writers Institute.  “Independent booksellers who have weathered the invasion of the big chain bookstores and Amazon now have this pandemic as one more challenge.  These stores are very resilient with a loyal following of customers who are committed to buying local from real people.”

Chris Morrow, owner of Northshire Bookstores in Saratoga Springs and Manchester, Vt., is worried about the future of his stores.  “In Saratoga we are completely shut down,” he said, “but thankfully our New York customers have been buying from us online.  In Vermont, we are doing a robust curbside pickup business; however, even with all that our sales are way down, and if we are not able to open until fall, we are out of business.  Summer is an extremely busy time for both stores.”

​Grondahl feels that independent bookstores are vital to our communities.  “These stores bring people together to share their thoughts on what we’re reading.  You can often spend a few minutes with a friend, have a cup of coffee and talk about ideas.  We are often divided and pitted against each other so much right now politically as a country, but hopefully a good bookstore can bring us together to discuss a great book of poetry, a beautiful novel, or an important book of historical nonfiction.”

The New York State Writers Institute and Joe Donahue of WAMC Northeast Public Radio recently joined forces to support the Capital Region’s indie bookstores to encourage book sales and to increase revenue with a new initiative called #IndieBookstoreBoost.

​“We’re trying to pick up some author events that would have been in their stores,” said Grondahl.  “We’ll do some virtual interviews with these authors and each interview will have a direct sale link to that particular bookstore.” Read more on the site.

* We support independent bookstores and local journalism. That's why we included only an excerpt of Jack Rightmyer's story. #supportlocaljournalism


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