I’m writing today to ask for your help. Left Bank Books has been operating mostly from sheer willpower these last seven months. In the interest of keeping you (and ourselves) safe, we’ve been offering curbside pickup, delivery, and shipping from our corner, and we’ve managed to avoid laying anyone off or reducing benefits such as health insurance. But we’re headed into the holiday season, and we’re struggling. The last two months of the year account for one-third of our whole year's revenue - and this month, we’re 46% behind October of last year.
Does this scare you? It scares us.
This math is not sustainable, especially when we have depleted all available resources in the previous six Covid-challenged months. It costs more to operate safely and do business primarily online, and, as you see from the numbers, we are taking in far less than we need.
I know you have enjoyed at least some portion of our 51 years in business. Even during Covid, we’ve maintained a robust author event series, albeit virtually. The sales generated from those events are minute. In pre-Covid times, events accounted for 20% of our business. Since Covid, we’ve been doing online story times, curbside pickup, and delivery, and recently, we have opened by appointment for safe, masked, distanced browsing. We haven’t missed a beat: even when we had to quarantine for two weeks in August, we were able to get books to you.
With sales at an alarming low, and no additional Federal assistance in sight, there are not a lot of options. We’re doing everything we can with what we have. So I am asking you now, if you are at all able, to support us in generous numbers this holiday season. You can find our special, curated holiday catalogue on our website along with everything else. We have begun listing our used books online as well. You can make an appointment to browse, or call and talk to one of our staff who can walk you through the store virtually to help you find the perfect book for that hard-to-shop-for uncle. Or the perfect curl up and read novel when you are eating Cornish Game Hen for one instead of gathering around the family table this year.
You can even just make a donation. Every little bit helps.
Please start soon, please start now. Publishers’ control of reprints and shipping times is uncertain as everyone in the supply chain tries to safely operate their business. The sooner you place your orders or come in to browse by appointment, the more certain you can be of finding what you want. And the more certain we can be of being able to celebrate our 52nd birthday with you next July.
So many heartfelt and humble thanks to you. Have safe, healthy, and happy holidays.
Kris Kleindienst with Jarek Steele for the staff of Left Bank Books.
If you are able, please consider donating to Left Bank Books to help keep us going during such an unprecedented year.
Any amount is appreciated. Stay healthy!
How to Donate:
- Input the amount you would like to donate into the allotted space below.
- Select “Add to Cart.” You will be taken to a new page to review your “order.”
- Select “Checkout”
- Input your credit card and billing information and select “Review Order”
- Make sure everything looks good and finalize.