by Mary Ruthless
Our entire country is on red alert right now as we work together to contain and slow down the spread of COVID-19 and protect the most vulnerable members of our society. Foggy Pine Books is no exception to this work and we’ve had to make some difficult decisions in the past week about how we can best help our community while still keeping our business open. The main points here are:
Appalachian State University and the Town of Boone have taken precautionary steps to reduce the potential spread of COVID-19 and Foggy Pine Books will be joining in that effort. While there have been no suspected cases of the new coronavirus in Watuaga or Ashe counties, social distancing is still an important step in reducing the spread of infectious diseases. Though none of our events are over 100 people, they would put the attendees in very close contact. Effective immediately, we are canceling all our events EXCEPT for book clubs which will be moved online. Mary will host the Silent Book Club, Fantasy & Sci-Fi Book Club, and Foggy Pine Book Club meetings via Zoom/Facebook Live/Google Duo (truly not sure yet, still working those things out) so that our longest running events will still be accessible to our customers. All author events for March, the Story Slam, and our new So Chill events will be pulled from the calendar effective immediately. These have been canceled on all platforms with information on the book clubs in each event description. Furthermore, we are reducing our hours on Friday and Saturday, starting today. We will now close at 7pm every day, except Sunday when we close at 6pm. Please let us know if you have any questions about these decisions or upcoming online events.
With precautionary measures taken care of, we must now confront our current standing as a small, independent business. I don’t like sharing the store’s financial status publicly but I think it’s important to be transparent during this very stressful time. As many of you know, indie bookstores operate on a very thin margin. We are flexible and adaptable but can only do so much. This winter and it’s lack of, well, winter did a number on us. For the first time since we opened our doors, we did not meet sales projections. This has put us behind and behind and behind in almost every way. We are doing everything that we can but, with the addition of the current health situation, we are in dire straits. Having to cancel events is going to hurt us. Reducing hours is going to hurt us. Running on a limited staff is going to hurt us and our staff. So, if you value having a bookstore in your community, I am asking for your help. If it’s within your power to do, please keep shopping with us. I know that many people simply cannot or do not feel comfortable going out into public while the transmission of COVID-19 is a widespread concern. To that end, we are offering free shipping on ALL orders. You may order from home by placing your order online or by calling the store and we will ship your books to you for FREE via media mail. We don’t want folks to risk their health but we need the financial support of sales in a serious way.
If you do not have the resources to support us in this way, you can still help! Share this article with your friends and family. Encourage people who do have the resources to shop not just with us but with as many local businesses as possible. We aren’t the only ones struggling to manage the current economic changes. Like our social media pages (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram), like & comment on our posts, share them on your social media, read/share/comment on our blog posts. The more exposure we get on these platforms, the better chance we have of surviving the shifting tides of the current economy. These things may seem small to you but bigger social media numbers generally translate to higher sales--sales that we, and many other small, local businesses, need very much right now.
Finally, I want to thank our customers for their patience and support during this time. We’ve already had quite a few of you reaching out to check on us, make purchases, and are telling your friends to shop here. I cannot tell you how much that means to us. Having such a wonderful, loyal customer base who truly believes in the value of the work that we do makes us feel much more confident in our ability to weather the current economic & social climate. Thank you, from the bottom of our hearts.
Keep reading, wash your hands, and support local businesses!
Well, it was harder than it should have been but we made it through 2019! Hugs, high fives, and hurrahs all around! If you're anything like us, 2019 made you take stock of your convictions and priorities. It galvanized you to be the change you want to see in the world. It motivated you to dive into this mess called life and do the right thing. We are so honored to be moving into this new year with passion and purpose alongside people like you.
As you know, Foggy Pine Books is committed to providing opportunities for giving back, both in our local and global communities. If you've been staying abreast of the news, the fires in Australia are a countrywide catastrophe. Over 18 million acres of land have been burned and half a billion animals are injured, displaced, or deceased. When faced with such widespread destruction, it is hard to determine how we can be helpful, especially from so far away. But every little bit helps and that is why all proceeds of your purchase of a book from our environmental display will be donated to benefit WIRES and The New South Wales Rural Fire Service. Together, we can make a difference for the global community.
We all know that lasting change begins with ourselves. One of the best ways to effect change is to experience new things so we can look at our situation with fresh perspective. Luckily for us book worms, reading can aid us in that pursuit! It's truly amazing that just by sitting down with a good book, we can improve our capacity to understand other individuals and social situations. If you are ready to broaden your horizons, why not join our 2020 Foggy Pine Books Reading Challenge? You can find the challenge here or in the store. If you need a few suggestion, check out this list that Mary pulled together and don't forget to join our other readers via our Facebook group.
While you're here picking up your copy of the reading challenge, be sure to also pick up a ballot to vote for the 2020 Southern Book Prize. The finalists for the Southern Book Prize will receive votes until February 1st, 2020. If you've read one of these titles and loved it (or hated it; it happens sometimes) let your voice be heard! You can also vote with an online ballot, here.
And even more good news - it just so happens that our Foggy Pine Book Club read for January will check a book off our reading challenge for you (you're welcome 😊)! Hope in the Dark is a collection of essays about remaining hopeful in a dark political climate. You can read all about this month's book pick (as well as browse past picks) here. And if you'd rather just escape from it all, take a peek at our Fantasy/Science Fiction pick, The Girl in the Tower, the sequel to Katherine Arden's bestseller The Bear and the Nightingale. You can read reviews, interviews, and find links to buy your very own copy here. We update these blogs each month so keep your eyes peeled for upcoming reads!
It's a new year, so why not throw in a new read? We have some amazing titles coming to the store soon and you're sure to find something you'll love. We will have All the Great Territories, a new book of poetry by local professor & author, Matthew Wimberley; signed copies of Untamed by Glennon Doyle; and the third installment of the Nevermoor series (and staff pick), Hollowpox: The Hunt for Morrigan Crow. Remember, you can get 15% off the cover price when you pre-order any upcoming titles.
If one of your resolutions is to utilize your time more effectively, you're not alone and we've got your back! Can't sit down for an uninterrupted hour to get some serious reading done? Why not listen to a book while driving, running, or cleaning? You're not bored and the boring stuff still gets done - it's a win-win! Check out the incredible titles you want to read at Libro.fm, follow the simple steps to download, and plug into a great story. The best part? You can listen across all your devices because every download is DRM-free!
If you're still wanting to add a few titles to your TBR or you haven't found one yet to tickle your fancy, take a peek at what we're reading in store this month.
A few final reminders as you head into the rest of your day. We have a beautiful, shiny site all ready for your online orders. It only takes a few minutes to set up an account and you can order your books directly to your home or to pick up in store. If you're not able to find something online, don't hesitate to contact the store and let us find it for you.
Finally, if you haven't had a chance to check out our Silent Book Club you should come by next Tuesday, January 14 @ 1pm OR next Saturday January 18 @ 6pm. All you have to do is bring your current read, grab a cup of coffee or tea, and curl up in one of our chairs or couches with your book to read for an hour. Optional discussion group will follow and snacks and drinks are provided. We hope to see you then! You can learn more about upcoming events on our Events page or come grab a monthly event calendar at the store!
Whew! We made it! Can you believe it's the end of the year already? We aren't going out with a whimper, either. We have lots of exciting stuff planned for December at the store and we can't wait to share it all with you!
Nearest and dearest to our hearts is our OASIS Holiday Book Drive. We have set up a donation program to benefit OASIS by providing books for all their littlest clients during the holidays. Through the 31st of this month we are taking 25% off any children's or YA book that is purchased for donation. Foggy Pine Books will match your book donation with a book donated for an adult. The books will be given to OASIS to hand out during the holiday season. Our goal is to donate 100 titles and, because of the generosity of our community, we are already well on our way!
While you're here browsing donation books, be sure to pick up a ballot to vote for the 2020 Southern Book Prize and a copy of our newest reading challenge. The finalists for the Southern Book Prize will receive votes until February 1st, 2020. If you've read one of these titles and loved it (or hated it; it happens sometimes) let your voice be heard! You can also vote with an online ballot, here.
Our 2020 Foggy Pine Books Reading Challenge has been a labor of love and we are so excited to share it with you! If you participated in our 2019 Reading Challenge, be sure to bring your completed list with you to receive your FREE BOOK! You have until Dec. 31st to claim it. Take a peek at our 2020 guidelines and start planning your stories for the upcoming year. The challenge officially starts on January 1st. Remember, if you need suggestions, we are always willing to help find something that fits the category AND your reading preferences, so ask away! We also have a Facebook group that you can join to talk to other participants, brainstorm titles, and ask Mary questions without coming into the store. You can request access here: https://bit.ly/2sL9zea
We are also excited about the support we've received from our friends at the following local businesses: Shear Shakti, Boone Town Hall, Daniel Boone Inn, The Jones House, The Children's Playhouse, Local Lion, Espresso News, and Hatchet Coffee. Our holiday catalog can be found at all of these local shops, as well as a fine array of their specialties and other local offers! If you're not able to grab a hard copy, you can always browse from the comfort of your couch by using our online shopping link.
If you're getting anxious about coming up with the perfect gift for the bookworm in your life - we've got you covered! We have curated this holiday gift books list just for you and the bookworm(s) in your life. Fiction, non-fiction, and children's titles that are beautiful, inspiring, and begging to be flipped through again and again!
Of course, you can pick up a catalog at the store as well and, while you're here, take a moment to meet our newest bookseller, Josh. Before moving to Boone in 2018, Josh operated a screen printing shop and toured America with a band for more than 10 years! Although he spent time in other parts of the country, driving back through the Appalachian mountains felt like home and Josh is now enrolled at ASU studying Geography (and a real nerd for cartographic design). If he's not at the store, he's either snuggled up on the couch with his partner and dog, or outside rock climbing. He's got some great stories and some great book recommendations so be sure to say hi next time you're in the store!
We are still running our rotating sale at the store so remember to check back as we will feature new sections each week. Used books will be 10% off all month long and we have a great selection right now. This week (through Saturday) get 10% off Hardcover Picture Books and next week (12/8-12/14) get 15% off Romance books. Kids Graphic Novels (12/15-12/21), General History (12/22-12/28), and Cookbooks (12/29-12/31) will round out the month. We also have special "hidden" discounts around the store--books that are on the shelf only (no display or bestseller books) that have a 20% off sticker on the front & will automatically ring up 20% off at the register. Keep some pennies in your pocket while you stock your shelves this month!
December Staff Picks
Just one more piece of new business: holiday hours. We will maintain our normal hours (Mon-Thur 11am - 7pm; Fri 11am - 9pm; Sat 12pm - 9pm; and Sun 12pm - 6pm) through December 23. On December 24th we will be open from 10am - 3pm and we will be closed Christmas Day. We will resume normal business hours until New Years Day 2020, when we will be closed again. We are looking forward to seeing and serving you this holiday season. Stay warm and read on!
Hello fellow bookworms! As we head into the next few weeks, many of us are looking for ways to give back out of our abundance. We are excited to share with you an opportunity to do just that this holiday season. We have set up a donation program to benefit OASIS by providing books for all their littlest clients during the holidays. Get 25% off any children's or YA book that is purchased for donation and Foggy Pine Books will match that with a book donated for an adult. Together, we can spread the joy of reading and be sure that no one is without a gift this season!
While you're here picking out the perfect donation title, don't forget to snag a copy of our beautiful holiday catalog. Filled to the brim with lovely books and great gift-giving ideas, you're sure to find something for the reader on your list. Can't swing by the store but still want to shop? Browse from the comfort of your couch on our brand new website. That's right - we've been hard at work and we finally get to share our online store with you! We can't wait to hear what you think!
There are a few other changes ahead as we move toward the end of the year and the calendars start filling up. The Swap Shop is ending in December and will no longer be accepting donations. All items will still be available for $1 per item or $5 for a bag. Swing by and take a peek - you never know what you will find! We have also decided, after a show of hands, to change the meeting time for the Fantasy & Sci-Fi Book Club. The club will meet on Thursdays at 6 pm starting January 2020. If you're not already part of a book club, we would love to have you try us on for size!
Not ready to commit to monthly book club meetings? An author visit may be just what the doctor ordered. We have local author Jim Hamilton in the store this month, doing a reading from his debut novel, The Last Entry. Come by this Friday and see what all the buzz is about!
We will be closed for Thanksgiving to allow our staff time to visit with family & friends. We'll be open our regular hours on Black Friday & Small Business Saturday. Come see us first thing Saturday and be entered to win one of THREE amazing giveaways - a set of books, a $30 gift card, or a canvas totebag! If you're one of the first ten purchasing customers, you will get 25% off your total order. Can't make it in first thing? We are also offering 10% off all books purchased between 5-9 pm. All purchases entitle you to a free, warm cup of coffee/tea/cider/cocoa and some Jane cuddles. So many reasons to shop local!
Looking for things to do this month? In addition to today's author visit, we have quite a few things events to join in this month. We have two regular book clubs that meet once a month to discuss our shared read. You can learn more about them here. The inaugural meeting of the brand new Silent Book Club is November 12th at 1pm. Learn more about that here. It's also NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) and we're holding 4 more write-ins this month. Come write with us and get free coffee & snacks then, during the last write-in, we'll have cake to celebrate your writing all month! There's always a lot happening at Foggy Pine Books so keep an eye on our calendar & we hope to see you at an event.
November is shaping up to be a busy month but that doesn't mean we've taken a break from reading over here at the store. Check out our staff picks and let us know what's on your list this month! Hint: You can click each cover to buy online from our new store!
We look forward to seeing you soon. Read on!
Max Ruthless: Owner