DECATUR, Ga. - Books can take us anywhere -- back in time or into the future, or to faraway lands both real and imagined.
"That's the power of the book. Or a good story," says Charles Robinson, co-owner of Eagle Eye Book Shop.
Eagle Eye Book Shop has been a fixture in Decatur for nearly 17 years. But all the books on the shelves inside could never have prepared Robinson for today's strange world of social distancing.
"It's a very different experience because people love to come to bookstores to browse," he says.
And right now, the doors at Eagle Eye Book Shop and many other bookstores across the country are closed to browsing, which means owners are busy finding other ways to continue getting books into hands. Although Robinson has had to furlough or lay-off part-time staffers, the owners are still inside the shop six days a week; Robinson says there's been a big increase in phone and online sales, which may be fulfilled through shipping, local delivery, or curbside pickup. "They can just pull right up to the front door, give us a call and say, 'We're here to pick up my book,' and we'll deliver it to them that way."
It's a similar story down the street, at Tall Tales Books in Toco Hill, where books also available for shipping, delivery, and drive-by pick-up -- but the doors are closed to browsing.
And while the COVID-19 pandemic is an unprecedented challenge for small business owners, Charles Robinson believes in the power of books to survive in the best and worst of times.
"Books are kind of the apex of technology in same ways, you know? You never run out of power. As long as you've got light, you can read. And, you know, I've seen a bunch of people out in the park, with a book under a tree...I mean, who doesn't love that?"