KEY POINTS

  • One of the most iconic bookstores in Paris has urged its customers to buy books amid the pandemic
  • Shakespeare and Company owner Sylvia Whitman said they have used all their savings
  • France has had 1.7 million cases and 40,439 deaths due to COVID-19

Shakespeare and Company, an iconic bookstore in Paris, is urging readers to buy a book so that it can recover from the losses it incurred due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

The bookstore recently sent an email to its customers informing them that it is struggling amid the global health crisis, Associated Press first reported. France went into its second nationwide lockdown on Oct. 30.

“We have been (down) 80% since the first confinement in March, so at this point, we have used all our savings,” Sylvia Whitman, daughter of late Shakespeare and Company owner Georgia Whitman, told the media outlet.

The email appeal turned out to be a success, and people started to help the store by buying books online. The publication noted that the store has received almost 5,000 online orders in the last week.

Many reached out to Sylvia to provide financial assistance to Shakespeare and Company. The bookstore also served as a shelter for many and allowed people to sleep among its bookshelves.

“(My father) let people sleep in the bookshop and called them ‘tumbleweeds.’ We have had 30,000 sleep in the bookshop,” Sylvia told the publication.

Sylvia Beach, the founder of Shakespeare and Company, was the only publisher who decided to publish James Joyce’s legendary novel “Ulysses” in 1922. The novel, composed of 700 pages, is considered to be one of the most important works of modernist literature.

“No one else dared to publish it ('Ulysses'). She (Beach) became one of the publishers of one of the biggest of the century,” Sylvia said.

On Oct. 28, French President Emmanuel Macron imposed the second nationwide lockdown and disclosed a new set of guidelines after seeing a surge in COVID-19 infections in the region. Places such as movie theaters, cafes, restaurants and shops not dealing with essential goods will remain shut for at least two weeks.

France reported more than 38,000 cases and 270 deaths in the last 24 hours. The nation has witnessed 1.7 million cases and 40,439 deaths so far.

Shakespeare & Company Bookstore Sylvia Beach, founder and owner of the Shakespeare & Company bookstore in Paris decorates the store's window. Beach's bookstore became an important part of the Paris literary scene from 1919 to 1941. Photo: Photo via Getty Images