It has been almost a year since I last wrote a monthly introduction to Bookshop’s email newsletter, as all of my writing time was usurped by the need to reinvent Bookshop to survive the pandemic. I sure have missed talking books with you! It was through all of the trying times that books provided what we needed—escape, inspiration, education, and connection. I believe when the exhaustion of this past year wears off, these are among the things that I will remember the most:
Pulling $50,000 worth of books, donated through your generous contributions to our Keep Kids Reading Fundraiser, to give to young readers who otherwise didn’t have access during COVID—including hundreds of children who lost homes in the fires.
Hosting Ta-Nehisi Coates, in partnership with The Humanities Institute at UC Santa Cruz and Marcus Books in Oakland, for a virtual event where we learned and listened to a key voice in anti-racist work.
Seeing our booksellers handpick books and gifts for care packages, stocking stuffer grab bags, Easter bundles, Valentine’s Book Lover’s Boxes, and more, ensuring that every special occasion could be filled with books.
Watching Amanda Gorman read her inaugural poem and knowing that millions of young people will be inspired to learn and write poetry for years to come.
Of course, other moments will stay with me, including when the power went out on Christmas Eve and we called customers while sitting on the curb outside to ensure that they knew their books were ready before the holiday. Through it all, our customers were there for us and with us—something that we will never be able to repay.
Now, almost a year later, we can only look forward to what the future will bring and how books will remain a central part of our recovery. We hope that Bookshop Santa Cruz remains a central part of your book experience.