2020 has proven our love of bookshops is stronger than ever!

In this extraordinary and challenging year, for Love Your Bookshop Day Saturday 3 October, bookshops around the country want to return the love and thank the communities who have rallied around them.

During the pandemic, bookshops have been overwhelmed with support and seen their true value to communities. As everyone learnt to “pivot”, “go digital” and deliver in new and different ways, stores have dug in and stayed afloat in the toughest of times. And it is the many and varied ways communities have shown their love – from fresh flowers to regular weekly orders to homemade tarts – that has kept their retail hearts beating.

Each year the Australian Booksellers Association’s (ABA) Love Your Bookshop Day (LYBD) celebrates the unique love of bookshops. Robbie Egan, CEO of ABA says,

Australian communities have been wonderful supporters of their local bookshops during the pandemic, and bookshops have responded in turn with great ingenuity… It has not been easy, but Australian bookshops continue to trade well, unlike some in the UK and the USA, where uncertainty has proved devastating. LYBD 2020 is a huge thank you and a celebration of the connection, solace, and relief books and bookshops have provided this year.

During the pandemic print book sales, year to date, are up by +2.9% on last year’s value, with an even more notable lift in unit sales, +7%*. Despite the restrictions on foot traffic which have so devastated retail generally, books and bookshops have managed to find a way to continue to connect with communities and readers. Grassroots campaigns such as #backyourbookshop, #buylocal and Counter Covid show consumers want to ensure their much-loved locals survive and print book sales show the strength of support for bookshops.

Matt and Jayne from The Bookshop at Queenscliff said “We really got the sense the whole community was looking out for us. Making sure we would stay afloat.

Other uplifting stories from these times speak to how bookshops themselves have been keeping communities connected. When Western Australia went into lockdown, My Little Bookshop delivered books to elderly locals from relatives across the borders who couldn’t visit,

I took [socially distanced] photos with them and sent them straight through to my customers, who appreciated and were reassured … Such wonderful moments …do[ing] my little bit to contribute to the community.” said Kerry, owner of My Little Bookshop

These stories and many others will be shared on 3 October – Everyone is invited to join in LYBD online at a special Facebook Live event at 11 am with The KidLit Club Takeover featuring storytime for families plus catch ups with booksellers and authors across the country.

While LYBD 2020 will look different this year it will be a celebration of survival, community and above all a thank you to the communities that love their bookshops. And this year for the first time there’s twice the love as Love Your Bookshop Day coincides with the UK’s Bookshop Day .

Though the pandemic is far from over and uncertain times remain, Australian Booksellers Association is inviting everyone to take the opportunity to celebrate books, our treasured stores and the communities that support them.

Love Your Bookshop Day is a national celebration organised by Australian Booksellers Association – Find out more about how to get involved in the LYBD Facebook Live event at loveyourbookshop.com.au