November 25, 2022

San Antonio independent bookstores Twig and Nowhere stay in touch online during coronavirus crisis

Twig Bookstore is not open to the public at this time, and the much-anticipated opening of Nowhere Bookshop, author Jenny Lawson’s Alamo Heights store, has been delayed indefinitely, but the two independent booksellers are doing what they want. can to keep San Antonio readers refueled.

Nowhere’s online sales include branded merchandise bearing the store’s signature logo as well as signed copies of Lawson’s books, including “Furiously Happy” and “Let’s Pretend This Never Happened.” It also features books signed by some of the authors who are currently expected to come to town in the coming months, including Christopher Moore, the latest of which is “Shakespeare for Squirrels”; Go-Go guitarist Kathy Valentine, whose rock ‘n’ roll memoir is “All I Ever Wanted”; and Samantha Irby, whose new collection of essays is “Wow, No Thank You”.

The store also has a subscription book club, Fantastic Strangelings, which generates much needed income. Members pay a monthly membership fee and receive a new book in the mail each month.

“We have around 2,300 members, so that’s really what sustains us,” said Executive Director Elizabeth Jordan.

The current selection, which has just been sent to members, is “We Ride Upon Sticks” by Quan Berry.

“It’s the story of a girls’ field hockey team in Danvers, Massachusetts (the birthplace of the accusations that led to the Salem Witch Trials) in 1989, who are desperate to have a successful season, including getting into the dark arts, ”Jordan said. “The characters in this book are understood so well that you miss them once you finish the novel.”

Lawson and his team were hoping to open in the next few weeks, Jordan said, but COVID-19 has canceled those plans.

“It’s not something that we have planned. It wasn’t in any of the models, ”Jordan said. “We’re going to see what we can do to deliver books online and take it day to day. “

The Twig has a long history of curbside service, making it easier for those who might not want or be able to move between the parking lots and the store. Those who wish to take advantage can either visit thetwig.com or call 210-826-6411. Staff are working in the store, so the service remains in effect even if shoppers aren’t allowed to browse the shelves in person at this time, manager Claudia Maceo said.

Books can also be ordered from the store’s website.

Maceo and the rest of Twig’s staff are using social media to guide customers to things they might enjoy while they’re housebound.

“We did more Instagram on fun products, puzzles and games, coloring books,” Maceo said.

They also highlight the store’s stationery offerings for those who might want to take a little downtime to write a letter the old-fashioned way, she said. She got the idea when another store owner in the Pearl mentioned that they were pushing their stationery.

“We all learn from each other for sure,” she said.

The Twig and Nowhere both sell audiobooks courtesy of Libro.fm, a Seattle-based audiobook company that sells its products in independent bookstores primarily in the United States and Canada. It is now giving stores 100% of those sales as a way to help businesses survive the pandemic.

The interactions at these stores are special, said Mark Pearson, CEO and co-founder of Libro.fm.

“People love bookstores and can’t imagine they weren’t there,” Pearson said. “Independent bookstores are best for talking to store customers, giving them book recommendations, and not practicing social distancing. In bookstores, we really depend on one-on-one customer interaction in a real space.

Customers can order through the Libro.fm site or through the sites of their favorite stores.

And they do, in large numbers.

“Digital audio is one of the only segments of publishing to experience exponential growth,” Jordan said. “It was almost eaten up by Amazon, but Libro came on the scene and said, ‘No, we want to allow you to deliver the content that customers want and support you financially. “”

Usually, she said, bookstores get pennies on the dollar for audiobooks, so being able to keep all the profits helps.

It is a difficult time to start a new business, especially one that relies on personal contact. Jordan doesn’t know when Nowhere will finally open.

“We are trying to do everything we can so that once people can come together there will be very little lag time until we open our doors,” she said.

In the meantime, independent booksellers around the world are keeping in touch and comparing their notes on how to get things done, Maceo said.

“We all want each other to be well,” she said. “We all share our ideas. Here at the Pearl, it’s the same with us, the retailers. We all speak and we all contribute to the collective idea bank.

[email protected] | Twitter: @DeborahMartinFR

Deborah Martin is an art writer from the San Antonio area and Bexar County. Read it on our free site, mySA.com, and on our subscriber site, ExpressNews.com. | [email protected] | Twitter: @DeborahMartinFR