Booksellers report from the “front lines” of the ‘Rona

Dislike jargon creep/appropriation and pretty sure the “front lines” of this pandemic are in nursing homes and hospitals, but if you’re interested in how public-facing bookstore workers are dealing with things, this article is for you.

Frontline booksellers are the first people customers see when they set foot in bookstores across America. They also do physically demanding work, from carrying heavy boxes to shelving thousands of books every year. Often they work for hourly wages and are among the most vulnerable workers in the publishing industry. During the first weeks of Covid-19 stay-at-home orders, thousands were laid off nationwide.

Over the past eight weeks, PW spoke with five frontline booksellers to hear about their experiences. They were granted anonymity in order to be able to speak freely. These are their words, edited and condensed for clarity.

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