Bookselling in the Time of COVID-19

The Love in the Time of Cholera puns have become cliché, but it’s the most succinct way to conjure the way we are in a state, a historical time where things are different because of this external force. We are in the time of corona. We can’t escape it. There’s no denying it. Here we are.

The past five weeks have been a whirl-wind of intense emotions. The line running through all of them has been a deep sense of loss felt. Every person I have interacted with (virtually, over the phone, and in person) has mentioned one way or another that the COVID-19 pandemic has affected them. I am not talking about anger, frustration, or paranoia (or lack thereof) around the virus, but the reflection on what we have lost when we remove ourselves from each other. Whether it is a job, friendships, family, a trip, a celebration, or even a test, we are all collectively grieving the loss of the everyday lives we took for granted, as well as any loss we may have experienced at an individual level... continued.

April 2020 eNewsletter

"There is some good in this world, and it's worth fighting for

—J. R. R. Tolkein, The Two Towers

Bookstores are very lonely places without people. It's been sad to show up each morning to a dark store and no one walking into the door at 9:00am. The phone rings, though, and for that I am grateful.

As we wander through this mess, I thought of some things that I am grateful for during this time of Stay-at-Home:

1. Island Books customers are incredibly loyal.
2. Mercer Island is an amazing community to be a part of the love and support you have shown us will never be forgotten.
3. The Island Books team is phenomenal thank you for your resilience and flexbility.
4. The gift of family time, family toasts, and family dinners.
5. Books.
6. Zoom Happy Hours with friends.
7. Netflix (mainly, Tiger King, All American, and Schitt's Creek)
8. Coming to the bookstore with my husband each day.
9. My kids are grown and not toddlers! I am in awe of so many that are home with little ones. I'd be drinking by noon!
10. Walks, even if it is only back and forth through the bookstore.

Be well, we miss you all and hope to see you soon!
Laurie Raisys


P. S. Happiest birthday wishes, Liuci.


Book to the Future: A Note from Cindy

imageIf ever I didn’t want to dwell in the present, this day is that. Or maybe I should say these days are those — I don’t even know how to construct that sentence. But just as I am not one to dwell on sentence structure, I am also not one to wallow in the past, swollen with nostalgia looking to all the great tomes of yore in times of global stress — Not me! I am looking to all the fun reads of the future.

Luckily, I am uniquely positioned to share them with you... Continued.

COVID-19 Update from Island Books

To our valued customers, supporters and community:

First of all, thank you for your continued support over the past few weeks during this unprecedented health and economic crisis. As you no doubt have heard, this crisis has hit small businesses particularly hard and Island Books is no exception. We appreciate the outpouring of support from our community. Your support of Island Books not only supports a Mercer Island institution but it also supports 6 Island Books employees. Nobody knows what the next few days and months will bring. We are hoping for the best possible outcome given the circumstances.

Yesterday, Washington State Governor Inslee announced the closure of all non-essential businesses by midnight Wednesday, March 25. As a result, Island Books will be closing the doors of its retail store at the end of the business day tomorrow (Wednesday, March 25th). Complying with this order is the right thing to do for our customers and our community at large. We support the governor in his decision. We will, however, continue to fulfill orders online (email: or and phone orders (206-232-6920) as we always have. Our employees have the ability to fill these orders from home as long as there is a need and a demand for it from our customers and community. We will also continue to offer free shipping to anywhere in the US and free delivery on Mercer Island as we always have.

For today (Tues, March 24th) and tomorrow (Wed, March 25) we will be open from 9:00am to 8:00pm. If you’ve received a call from us regarding a pick-up of your order, we ask that you please pick up by end of day tomorrow (we are also happy to deliver on Mercer Island or ship your order – just let us know). During this time will continue the important practice of physical distancing (we will be our usual social selves but from a distance) within the store and we will limit the number of people in the store to 10 at a time. We ask for your understanding in helping us uphold these important health practices.

Please keep in touch and keep up with us on social media through Facebook and Instagram as well as our website. We’ll be making announcements and sharing important information about supporting local businesses and independent bookstores.

Shop local. Spend like it matters.

Stay well.

— The Island Books Team


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