The Bookseller is to launch a series of weekly Twitter conversations with people caught up in the coronavirus crisis, helping to shed light on how the sector is responding professionally and emotionally to the lock-down in the United Kingdom, which has seen most bookshops close their doors, and publishing staff sent home to work in isolation. First up is Meryl Halls, managing director of The Booksellers Association, who has been on the front-lines since the epidemic developed, helping bookshops respond to the developments.
The first Twitter chat will take place at 4pm on Tuesday 31st March, and thereafter on a weekly schedule. Users can follow the conversation and join in using the hashtag #Booksellerchat. Questions can also be posted using the hashtag ahead of time.
Philip Jones, editor of The Bookseller, said: “If there’s one person you want on your team in these testing times, it is Meryl. She has marshalled the Booksellers Association’s resources to quickly help bookshops practically, whether they are trying to carry on trading physically or looking to move online, as well as launching the #choosebookshops campaign aimed at book buyers. She has called on the government to suspend rates payments, for landlords to offer rent holidays, and she has asked the big publishers to extend their normal trading terms. The BA has cancelled member subs for the year for indies, and pledged £30,000 to the Booksellers Hardship Fund, administered on behalf of the trade by the Book Trade Charity. As we move through this crisis into the next stage, Halls will be vital in making sure we recover as a trade, with bookshops back at the heart."