COVID-19 Update, May 22, 2020
On March 18th, with almost no time to prepare, Broadway Books pivoted into a totally new way of bookselling. We are so grateful to our supportive and patient customers, who have transitioned along with us to this unfamiliar — and frankly not nearly so fun — way of doing business.
When libraries and schools closed, we continued to get books (and an amazing number of jigsaw puzzles) to people who were hungry for them. We were one of only a couple of bookstores that provided curbside pick-up locally, conducted in a way that we believe keeps our customers and our employees safe. The health and safety of our booksellers and our customers is always foremost on our minds. We went from processing between 50 to 100 online orders in a month, to processing that many each day, which is an incredible ramp-up in the best of times, let alone when working under the strain of social distancing within a physically small store and delayed order processing and delivery from our publishing, distribution, and shipping partners. We have delivered more than 200 packages of book delight in the past two months and shipped about 500 packages.
We are so proud and appreciative of our tiny but stalwart family of booksellers who very quickly learned a whole new way of doing things and are putting in longer hours than ever before. Thank you, from the bottom of our hearts, to our booksellers and our customers.
Now that Oregon is starting to ease restrictions somewhat, we are exploring ways to open our doors to customers again while maintaining social distancing and other standards designed to protect the health and well-being of our employees and our customers. If just one of our employees were to get sick right now, even with just the “normal” flu, we would be hard-pressed to continue operating at this pace. And, frankly, the notion of exposing any of our bookstore family to risk is unacceptable to us. The words many have used to describe the ambiance of Broadway Books, enabling a soulful book-buying experience — cozy, intimate, chockfull of books — are the very characteristics that pose a challenge to opening our doors wide.
Our plan is to open in a limited fashion in early June. Over the next couple of weeks we will be making some physical changes in the store toward that end, as well as acquiring needed supplies for cleaning and sanitizing. During that time we will continue offering curbside pick-up, delivery, and shipping of online and phone orders. We will announce our re-opening plans through our newsletter; the information will also be posted on the home page of our website and through our social media channels. Keep in mind that this will be a dial, not a switch. We won't go from closed to open overnight. We know many of you miss browsing our shelves, and we miss talking books with you. We have added some booklists to our website to help you browse; see the links below. Our goal is to continue to add book lists for you to browse over the next several weeks.
We have been truly gobsmacked and moved to tears by the support we have received from the community. Believe us, this is not how we anticipated celebrating the 28th anniversary of Broadway Books, but it has cemented our commitment to the community. And one of these days we will have a big ‘ol party to celebrate! In the meantime, we thank you for shopping local, staying home as much as possible, and wearing masks. You are helping Portland’s local economy and well-being by doing so.
Stay tuned for more news. And be sure to order your Broadway Books Books Save Lives T-shirts while they are still available!
One last note: We will be closed on Memorial Day, Monday, May 25th, which means we won't be taking any phone calls that day. But our website will still be up and running! Please stay safe as you celebrate.
COVID-19 Update, March 29, 2020
A couple of things to keep in mind: processing orders online is much more compicated and time-consuming than selling books in the store. We appreciate your patience, as we are getting to orders as quickly as we can. To try to keep up with the demand, we are only answering the phone at the store between noon and 4 pm Monday through Saturday. Please please please place your orders through our website. If you need clarification, feel free to send us an email.
All the information you need about ordering and getting books are outlined in the bulletins below. Believe us, we so appreciate your business; it's just that when the phone rings non-stop we can't actually to get processing, ordering, and packaging orders! We know everyone needs things to read as we quarantine at home to bend down the darned curve, and we promise to get to your orders. Please keep in mind that not only are we social distancing at the store as we work on your orders, but the publishers and distributors are having to social distance in their warehouses too to keep their employees safe, so every step in the process is taking longer. But we're here for you! Thank you.
- Free Delivery for orders of $75 or more to zip codes 97212, 97213, and 97232.
- Free Domestic media mail for orders of $50 or more mailed at the same time to the same address.
- Please do not come down for curbside pick-up until you get an email or call that your books are here.
- Wash your hands. Don't touch your face. Stay at least six feet apart.
COVID-19 Update, March 23, 2020
We are overwhelmed by your enthusiastic response to our previous email! Thank you so much for your support and for your kindnesses. We are powering through the orders as quickly as we can with a small staff. Thank you for your patience.
Creating distance, staying home as much as possible, and avoiding contact with people remains paramount if we are to bend this curve down and avoid putting our hospitals over capacity, and we are in favor of that! Unfortunately, as a result, all of our April events have been cancelled. We will make a decision about events scheduled for May as we see how things progress. We are leaving all of our events on our website and encourage you to consider ordering those authors' books, as COVID-19 is wreaking havoc with their book launches. Having a big stack of books by one's side makes staying in and not socializing more tolerable, so we are happy to be able to help you on that score.
Because we had already been complying with the governor's executive order of today, we will continue with our current plan: taking orders and payment online and over the phone (online is best) and arranging for curbside pick-up, delivery, or mailing of the books. As we announced previously, the physical store is closed to customers. We have made a few changes to our hours, so here's what you need to know going forward:
We will be answering the phone at the store between noon and 4 pm Monday through Saturday; there will not be anyone here to answer phones on Sunday. Cutting back on our phone times will better enable us to process orders, order books, receive books, and package them for pick-up/mailing/delivery.
We will be offering curbside pick-up between 2 and 4 pm on Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. We ask that if you find yourself picking up a package at the same time as another customer that you maintain at least six feet of space between you. Just to reiterate, all orders for curbside pick-up must be paid in advance online or over the phone; we are not taking credit cards or cash at the door.
We will be delivering qualifying orders on Wednesdays and Saturdays. (Any orders over $75 going to zip codes 97212, and 97232; Please designate a secure place for us to leave the package.)
As before, we will mail domestic orders over $50 via media mail for free. Orders that don’t qualify for free delivery or free shipping will be charged at $6 for the first book and $1 for each additional book for media mail of books shipped at the same time to the same address. (If you are ordering books with multiple future publishing dates we will wait and mail them when all the books are in, unless you choose to make other arrangements for getting them.)
During this unusual situation we find ourselves in, we are unable to accept gift certificates, pink cards, or store credit for payment as we are not passing any paper documents (or credit cards) back and forth at this time. We apologize for the inconvenience, but we are choosing to err on the side of protecting everyone's health. Fortunately, those items do not expire, so they will still be good to use when we are able to open our doors once again. We are also not punching pink cards at this time for the same reason of sanitation.
In the store we are taking steps to keep your purchases virus-free: cleaning and disinfecting frequently used surfaces, washing our hands so frequently they are dry and unhappy, wearing disposable gloves when handling customer packages, and, of course, making sure any employee not feeling well stays home!
We honestly believe that everyone staying home as much as possible and avoiding physical social interaction is the best course of action right now. But we also know that people need necessities: food for the stomach and food for the brain. We hope to continue being able to provide books to entertain, educate, and distract you during these unprecedented times.
Going forward, after we get our feet under us a bit during these rapidly changing times, we hope to be sharing with you some notes about new books, staff favorites, and genre clusters, since you can't come browse the sections in the store like you're used to. We encourage you to follow us on Instagram for the most frequent updates about what's new in the store.
Again, much love to you all for your support and good wishes. May we all come through this challenge healthy and robust.
Be kind to one another!
March 17, 2020
Dear fellow book lovers:
It is with great sadness that we announce the temporary closing of our physical store to public browsing starting Wednesday, March 18th, until Tuesday, March 31st, at which time we will re-evaluate the situation. While our doors are not open, we will still be here for you. We will be staffing our store from 10 am til 5 pm daily to take your phone calls, process online orders, and package books for mailing, delivery, and curbside pick-up. Details on all of these options are below.
This is not a decision we take lightly, and we have wrestled with it as new information about the coronavirus has become available. The safety of our community and of our employees is of paramount importance to us, and we believe we must do our part to help “flatten the curve” while still fulfilling our mission of providing books to our customers. This is a critical time for everyone, and this feels like the best decision for the moment.
Our full staff will stay on the payroll for as long as it is feasible and we have work for them to do — fulfilling and packaging online and phone orders, gift-wrapping books, recommending books online and by phone, receiving new books, delivering books, and keeping the ship running until we can open our doors to the public again. We appreciate all of your efforts to keep our book elves busy!
Our March in-store events have been cancelled. We will make decisions about April events as more information becomes available. If we have to cancel an event, we will note that on the event’s page on our website.
Authors are continuing to write books; publishers are continuing to publish books; and we intend to continue bringing the best possible reads to your attention. If you’re on Instagram, we encourage you to follow us so you can see photos of what’s new and some of our favorite reads. We will also post photos of non-book items you might be interested in, and we will be sending out intermittent newsletters with links to good reads. If you’re a Facebooker, you can follow us there as well.
As for how we can get books to you, here are some of the options. All of the options require payment via credit card, either online or on the phone:
Any orders over $75 going to zip codes 97212, 97213, and 97232 we will deliver with no delivery charge. (Please designate a secure place for us to leave the package.)
Any domestic orders over $50 we will mail via media mail for free.
Orders that don’t qualify for free delivery or shipping will be charged at $6 for the first book and $1 for each additional book (media mail shipped at the same time to the same address).
Our initial idea is to offer curbside pick-up in front of the store between 2 and 4 pm daily for pre-arranged pick-ups.
We will miss seeing all of you in person, but we believe this is the right decision for the moment. The best way we can take care of one another right now is to hunker down and stay home — preferably with a good book or two. We want to help make this difficult time as healthy and safe as possible for everyone. Books can help!
Thank you for your support over the past almost three decades — we celebrate our 28th anniversary this spring! We look forward to hearing from you. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us if you have any questions, via phone at 503-284-1726 (between 10 am and 5 pm) and at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We love you! Please stay safe and healthy.