Independent Bookstores in the Era of Covid-19

Sophia Yang, a student in Dr. Danielle Fuller’s ENGL 425 class wrote an essay and made a podcast about Edmonton’s independent bookstores during the pandemic.

Danielle Fuller - 01 May 2020

Sophia Yang at CJSR’s station as the podcast internFor Sophia Yang, a third year English Major, adjusting to daily life during Covid has brought both challenges and opportunities.  After her ENGL 425 course, “Readers, Reading and Mass Media” moved online in mid-March, Sophia saw a chance to combine two of her keen interests: bookstores and podcasting.  For her final essay and latest podcast episode, Sophia conducted some research into the ways that two independent booksellers in Edmonton were responding to CV19.

Sophia comments: “While writing the case study on independent bookstores in Edmonton, I interviewed both Jason Purcell from Glass Bookshop and Kelly Dyer from Audreys Books to produce a special episode for the COVID-19 News from CJSR on the same topic. The podcast episode is definitely less academic, but it completes the story from a different aspect. It’s a heartening piece.”

Sophia was particularly intrigued by how local bookstore owners were maintaining the independent and distinct identities of their businesses when many of their usual activities like handselling books to customers and lively programs of in-store author readings were no longer possible. She analysed the different promotional strategies used by the booksellers on- and off-line that have helped both bookstores to keep connected to their customers, including new initiatives on social media and YouTube, and home and curbside delivery methods. You can hear about these and other innovations in the podcast: