Sylvia Whitman, Npr News, Neil Gaiman discussed on Morning Edition
Morning edition from NPR News. I'm Rachel Martin and I'm Noel King. Good morning. Shakespeare and Company is one of the most famous book sellers in the world. Ernest Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald hung out there along the Seine River in Paris, but the store is in trouble because of the pandemic. Rebecca Rossman has the story of the effort to keep it alive. You typically struggle to see the floor inside Shakespearean company with people packing every inch of the cozy shop facing North Saddam. But with France under a second mandatory shutdown, bookstores have been forced to close save for click and collect curbside pickup. Here we are, and this is the stock room. The back room here, meanwhile, has temporarily been converted into an online sales and packaging center. We weren't really used to this much online activity. So I website keeps crashing. Owner Sylvia Whitman recently published a newsletter confessing revenues were down by about 80% since the start of the pandemic. She says The subsequent outpouring of support has been overwhelming, and average of 10 online order today has ballooned into an average of 500 a day about what the stores sold before the pandemic. But the nearly 70 year old institution isn't out of the woods. Yet. So some famous literary friends are coming to its aid. British science fiction author Neil Gaiman says nothing can replace a physical space with four walls. And he remembers the owner of his favorite childhood bookstore who, for reasons known only to himself decided to talk to the 11 year old boy who haunted the science fiction shelves. Andre. He would recommend things and I want to bring them up to buy them. He tell me other things that I'd like Andy tell me things that would be coming out soon, but went out yet and I felt like I was getting secret Bookshop knowledge that I was part off a brethren of books on that feeling was absolutely magical. Gaiman is offering personalized doodles for anyone who spends €500 or more it Shakespeare and company. American author Dave Eggers is growing portrait for people who do the same. But what bookshops really want is to be able to open up again that lets you read through these animal tissue. In a recent interview with French government radio, former president Francois loaned, argued that if we're going to keep grocery stores open, why not keep bookstore's open to after all, he said, books are a form of spirituals. Nourishment. Several booze with a Could you smuggle an online petition urging the government to allow bookstores? Reopened, has already garnered nearly 200,000 signatures until she can unlock the doors. Shakespearean company owner Sylvia Whitman says she's clinging to advice from her father, George Whitman, the shops original eccentric owner. This is a picture of the fire. The fire took out a part of the shops for his floor in the early nineties, she reads a line from a book about its history. So, George said, Don't mourn organize, quoting the American labor activists and songwriter Joe Hill. And I just keep thinking about that person. It can be quite paralyzing this situation and at the same time we've just got to find solutions. Whitman is not alone for NPR news. I'm Rebecca Rosman in Paris. Thanksgiving will be very different this year Empty chairs at some tables, distancing masks. Ah, lot of traditions broken, but there's one thing listeners can count on just before the holiday Momma Stamberg scram, very relish. And here's NPR's special correspondent Susan Stamberg to spice things up. Which is not to say I'm not thinking about the pandemic and our health, Mr Trump considered injecting disinfectant. I have a different suggestion. Absolutely no reason to think it would work on Cove it but it could clear the Sinuses and it's certainly more palatable and dazzling to look at. A.