A local bookshop is making sure vulnerable people self isolating still have books to read – by delivering to customers by foot, by bike, and by car.
The Little Ripon Bookshop in North Yorks., has become an important lifeline for lonely elderly residents who have been forced into quarantine.
Owners Gill and Simon Edwards have been adapting to the new lockdown measures by delivering books from their store to wherever people need them.
Phoebe Edwards, 24, works in her parents shop and said they “owe” it to their customers to keep trying to get books to them however they can.
She said: “We’re still healthy and for now can keep going around town, so long as we are sensible.
“Delivering books to customers who can’t get out is something we’ve done before, because we have customers who are sometimes too ill to leave the house, or it would be much easier for them if they didn’t have to, so we try and do what we can.
“It’s totally within our capabilities to deliver books by foot or by bike or by car to our customers who are having to stay inside.”
Phoebe said they didn’t want their customers to be “stuck with nothing to do”.
“Books are one of the best sources of entertainment and escapism”, she said. “It wouldn’t do to be without.”
She added: “I think for all the years our customers have supported us, and actually are still trying to, we owe them to carry on trying to get books to them any which way.”
The bookshop also posts books out to customers who are further afield but still want to support the business.
Phoebe said: “I think the goal of lots of small bookshops is to get people who aren’t already customers, and who might automatically go elsewhere for their books, to consider supporting local bookshops in uncertain times.”
Phoebe is currently in the process of upgrading their website so they can reach more people and recommend a good read during uncertain times.
The delivery system has been well received, with Phoebe and Gill sending books out and dropping them off over the past few days.
Phoebe added: “It’s quite a lot of books each time as well, people don’t want to be caught without!”
The shop closed for browsing on Monday (23/03) as Gill and Simon decided it would be safer to offer only deliveries and collections.
She said: “We have decided that we now have to re-think the way we operate for a while.
“We will still be accepting orders over the phone, by email or via our website, while our doors remain closed for the time being.
“We won’t leave anyone without books in this time of need for now, but we think this is the best way to keep our wonderful customers and staff safe.”
Customers can knock on the door or honk their horn outside the shop to pick up their orders.
At the moment Gill and Simon are thankful for their loyal customers and are confident their new operating system will keep them in business.
The shop opened in Ripon in 2009 and has recently expanded to make way for more shelves as demand continues to grow.