Bookworms can definitely relate to the feeling of visiting a bookstore and rummaging those shelves for an interesting find. The smell of a new book brings an experience that PDFs do not have. So as we enter the new normal of things, how will this affect our bookstore experience?
Observe proper distancing while lining up
During the ECQ, bookstores are one of the retail establishments that closed. But now, the government is allowing them to open as Metro Manila and other cities are under GCQ. Big chains like National Book Store (NBS), Fully Booked and Pandayan Bookshop resumed the operations while practicing safety protocols. They also are in the process of improving their capacity in delivering orders. More than 100 stores of NBS are now open, Fully Booked has 24 and for Pandayan, 134 branches all over the country.
In the National Bookstore branches, the staff regularly cleaned and sanitized the floors, surfaces, and shopping baskets. They also restrict the number of customers inside to make sure there’s proper social distancing. Besides, the management requires all employees and customers to wear face masks. Alcohol bottles are placed at the cashier counters for their usage while there are plastic sheets that separate their items from the customers. You can also do contactless payment through GCash and PayMaya in NBS.
Meanwhile, the management of Fully Booked is also prioritizing the safety of its employees. As of now, their branches are working on a skeleton workforce and they are still postponing all physical activities like events and workshops.
The boom of e-commerce in the bookstore industry
On the other hand, the lockdown resulted to increase in online order for books. Fully Booked has an E-commerce website but it also utilized Shopee and Lazada. As for NBS, Padilla said that one week’s worth of sales now is comparable to a month’s worth of sales before the quarantine started. The volume of orders significantly went up also.
Customers now have a lot of options to buy books and supplies since NBS has a website, official stores in Lazada, Shopee, and Metro Mart. They can also opt for Text to Order service, but they should either pick up their prepared orders or book delivery service.
Adarna House, the store that specializes in children’s books, is now also online. Although their stores in Quezon City and Baguio are not yet operating, you can place your order on their website.
What do you think of these changes? Will you still prefer going to bookstores versus ordering online?
Queenie Lasta got her bachelor's degree in Communications Research from UP Diliman. In her free time, she likes to read thriller novels, psychology books, and mangas. She believes in the importance of grit, hard work, and passion to become a great writer in the future.