Coronavirus diary: “The New Browsers'”

I’ve taken to calling work The New Browsers’ now. Of course, it’s the same books as yesterday, but it feels different already.

Our first day of The New Browsers’ was actually profitable, which comes as a big relief. There were more online orders than there have been lately, and four people came to pick up books and one person had one shipped. We also took orders from locals for a few more books. I’m not expecting a huge community support during this time, but I am hoping for a trickle. The first days will be the most, of course.

I tried doing a Facebook Live streaming video. Other than the camera being reversed (I’ve discovered how to change that), it actually went pretty well. When I did the FB show “Rare Book Cafe” there were between 3-9 people watching most of the time. On my own livestream there were between 10-20 people watching most of the time. So, for a beginning I’m happy with it. However, I’m thinking I will do it once or twice a week instead of every day.

I didn’t have time to go through my whole list of things to do for the closure. The key ones are done, but today is going to be catch-up day. Shipping took a while: it’s practically all I did in Albany, and I didn’t get to pack the Corvallis orders. It would be great if I could quickly hire someone back just to help with shipping. I know any of them would do it if I asked, but I need to rely on a strict business model during this time, not volunteers. If I have that much shipping every day, then I can afford a shipper…if I don’t then I’m on my own. I haven’t paid this much attention to the pennies coming in & out for years.

Today is a new day at The New Browsers’. I can already feel myself moving from despair to planning mode. After the plan comes hope. This is how small businesses work.