Let me say first of all that I realise there probably isn’t a single group of people in the country who couldn’t make a case for special treatment, vaccination, a free pass and everything else, during this pandemic.
I mean, journalists for example.
Where would we be if it wasn’t for some of my colleagues in the business exposing scandal after scandal. We should all be vaccinated immediately – as long as it’s not at the Beacon Hospital.
Anyway, I’d like to make the case for one group which, in my not-very-humble opinion, has an important role to play during the lockdown – but which has been ignored by government. (I was going to say “studiously ignored” until I remembered that the definition of “studiously” is “with concentration and conscientiousness in one’s work or reading,” so it couldn’t possibly apply to the government.)
I’m talking about bookshops.
Yes, I understand that we can’t have bookshops packed with people browsing.
But, right now, you can’t even order a click-and-collect book.
And that has a number of consequences.
*It’s difficult to get a book. The way things are, deliveries are taking longer and longer. And so if you see a book and order it online you might be waiting weeks instead of just going down to your local bookstore and picking up your order.
*We’re in danger of losing our local bookshops. They need the business. They’ve been closed for too long. And while I’m not suggesting they open up for browsers, surely click-and-collect isn’t too much to ask.
*Jeff Bezos has enough money. Right now, Covid policy is forcing people online. And even if it is, in most cases, absolutely necessary, when this is all over, too many people will be so used to shopping online, they won’t go back to real shops. And we’ll be sorry if that happens.
*There are people out there who don’t like/don’t know how/couldn’t be bothered shopping online. They need books too. We all need books. We’re locked up in our homes and books will help keep us sane.
*The consequences of people being bookless and spending their days watching The Chase, Come Dine With Me, Judge Rinder and/or Judy, Four In A Bed and Flog It! are scary. A country full of people turned into zombies by watching brain-numbing daytime television.
So please, please, please. Allow click-and-collect in bookshops.
(I can’t help wondering if the real reason the government doesn’t allow bookshops to trade is that none of them has ever read a book, at least, read a book you don’t have to colour in.)
So please allow click-and-collect at alanhannas.com. Or thevillagebookshop.ie
Or Easons or Waterstones or Dubrays
Or my publishers theliffeypress.com
I should have said.
Yes I want people to be able to buy books and mine in particular.
It’s called “And Finally – A Journalist’s Life in 250 Stories.”
Ah go on!