January 23, 2019

D.C. bookstores feeling effects of government shutdown


Last week, Alex Green of Publishers Weekly reported that the government shutdown was beginning to affect D.C. bookstores. While some are seeing an uptick in daytime traffic and there are discounts aplenty for furloughed workers, most DC indie bookstores appear to be experiencing a decline in sales. (One lucky bookstore, One More Page in Arlington, VA, told Green they’ve had furloughed customers stocking up on reading material.)

Laurie Gillman, owner of East City Bookshop, told Green that while their sales numbers are holding, more customers are requesting to wait to pick up special orders. “Basically people [are] trying not to spend anything extra.”

On top of the drop in sales directly from furloughed workers, Green reports that Kramerbooks spokeswoman Leah Frelinghuysen said the shutdown has resulted in a decline in “drop-in tourism as a result of the museums being closed” and “government contractors not traveling to D.C.”

The news comes on the heels of an announcement from the American Booksellers Association that sales were up nearly 5 percent for independent bookstores in 2018, with 97 new stores joining the ABA.

Want to help D.C.’s bookstores? Here’s a list of indies in the area.



Amelia Stymacks is the former director of digital marketing at Melville House.