The Covid-19 pandemic continues to force bookstores to lay off employees as stores close in compliance with various citywide and regional lockdown and quarantine orders. Hundreds of booksellers across the U.S. have lost their jobs, and the latest major bookstore to report job losses is Tattered Cover, which operates four locations in and around Denver.
"Tattered Cover has closed all stores and has a skeleton crewing filling online and phone orders. We have put more than 100 employees on unpaid temporary leave," owner Len Vlahos said. "This allows us to continue their health insurance, and allows them to collect unemployment. We're going to reassess whether we can re-open in two weeks, or extend the closure."
On its website, the bookseller encouraged those looking to support the store to buy books or gift cards and engage with the store's social media. The store also suggested that those interested in supporting out-of-work booksellers should donate to the Book Industry Charitable (Binc) Foundation.
Posman Books has also closed its four bookstores, two each in New York City and Atlanta, with job losses ensuing as well. The company wrote on its website: "In light of the current situation, we have temporarily closed all of our locations. We will find shelter, inspiration, and distraction in literature during this storm and hope you do too. Thank you for putting our books on your shelves. Please take care."
The company was expected to open a store in Boston in the next eight weeks, but that looks in doubt. Things change fast. As recently as March 10, Lance Edmonds, regional manager for Posman, told PW, "Things are just beginning to come into focus as far as scope and duration of this crisis. Right now it is business as usual, albeit much much slower. We are working with each individual employee to see how to best minimize their exposure while continuing to help Posman remain a destination bookstore. So far each day has brought new challenges; we are all operating with a playbook or much of a safety net."
If you are a bookseller with a layoff notice, please email our news and bookselling team.