Booksellers Reflect on the Highs and Lows of 2020

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In the final days of 2020, booksellers took to social media to reflect on an extraordinarily unprecedented year. Take a look at what booksellers had to say:

Viewpoint Books

Viewpoint Books in Columbus, Indiana, posted to Instagram: “We are taking a few minutes this weekend to fondly remember the good times of the last year. It wasn’t exactly what anyone hoped or expected, but, with your help, we figured out a way to be safely apart but still together. Here’s to a happy and healthy 2021!”

Wild Rumpus Books

Wild Rumpus Books in Minneapolis, Minnesota, posted to Instagram: “After such an unusual and challenging year, we just want to say a huge thank you for your dedicated support of Wild Rumpus. May 2021 include lots of books, snuggles, and leaps of the imagination!”

Semicolon Bookstore

Semicolon Bookstore in Chicago, Illinois, posted to Instagram: “A Note From the Proprietress:⁣ This is the mood all 2021 because WE MADE IT! ⁣There were moments when I sat in the house in tears trying to figure out how I’d explain to our team that they no longer had a job. I’m grateful that those moments were quickly replaced by explaining to them that we’d all have to work some overtime in coming weeks. We had SO much fun, raised SO much money for students and gave away SO many books, even in the midst of a worldwide crisis! ⁣We stayed true to ourselves and our community-oriented business model, even when it didn’t make sense. We brought our authentic selves to the table every day, carved out our own happy little niche, and brought all of you along. ⁣⁣Shout out to the best TEAM of booksellers in the world (though I may be biased)! We made it, Y’all!”

Reads & Company

Reads and Company in Phoenixville, Pennsylvania, posted to Instagram: “Looking back on some 2020 photos. This has to be the saddest one for Reads: the day we closed our door in March and everything went dark, literally and metaphorically. Here’s to brighter days ahead for all of us. Thanks for getting us through, Readers. We still need you. Shop local, shop indie, shop our neighbors and friends. Please wear your mask (especially that one guy), wash your hands, stay apart, read good books, turn the page.”

Shelves Bookstore

Shelves Bookstore in Charlotte, North Carolina, posted to Instagram: “For the last 7 months, I have worked like a mad woman for Shelves. I've had to learn the ins & outs of e-commerce while processing hundreds of orders and launching new products. I had to fire a contractor and fire myself from doing every single thing in my business. I have made mistakes and lost money. I've had to turn down business and almost buckled under the stress of it all. I have learned that two things can be true at once: you can be killin' it and be hella exhausted. The latter has caught up with me and I can no longer ignore it...Thank you to everyone that has and continues to support Shelves. You can still shop for merch, books, and gift cards on during my hiatus (shout-out to my assistant for holding me down!). Please stay safe, read something good, and enjoy the holidays!”

Oblong Books & Music

Oblong Books and Music in Rhinebeck, New York, posted to Instagram: “Happy New Year! A reminder to be extra gentle with yourself during this time of growth and resolutions. After an exceptionally hard year, we know we’re looking forward to a fresh start. If you’re thinking of making a change, whether that’s starting a creative project, volunteering in your community, or simply being more mindful, we’ve probably got a book that will help you out and spark ideas.”


MahoganyBooks in Washington, D.C., posted to Instagram: “Wow, where to begin. What a whirlwind 2020 brought with it. As an award winning bookstore who’s been around almost 14 years, we were pushed to the limits on so many fronts this year. Most we were grateful for. So many of you chose to shop with us and for years we had a stellar system in place and tons of happy customers from across the nation, and this year, well, it showed us that selling over a whopping 150,000 Black books (online only) that we had to upgrade and tweak processes, fast, lol. We’ve always had a small, dope and mighty team of 2-3 booksellers, but oh my, at one point during the summer we brought on a team of 8 from the African Diaspora (Nigeria, Jamaica, Texas and more) just to handle online processes...We are excited about 2021 and can’t wait to share some next level news with you in the coming months.”

Novel Bay Booksellers

Novel Bay Booksellers in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin, posted to Instagram: “A parting photo from a year no one is sad to see end: It symbolizes the light that glowed through the darkness because of you. Your passion for books and support for what you value enabled us to keep the lights on, the bills paid and welcome you to our little bookshop. Now, on to 2021!”