To Our Readers:
What an unusual and terrible time this is for all of us — with people’s lives at risk, and many lost so far; with the vast majority of us confined to our homes or, out of necessity, precariously trying to work outside our homes. There is much to mourn, much to be grateful for and much cause for worry and fear.
Apart from the obvious life-and-death matters at stake, we at the Book Review are especially concerned for those whose livelihoods depend on books. We think of the authors whose book tours have been canceled, authors who depend on income from teaching, authors who need money from speaking engagements to supplement their advances. All of those opportunities, temporarily — and in some cases, permanently — gone.
Our hearts go out to the debut authors of the season, many of whom spent years, perhaps a lifetime, waiting for the dream moment when their first book would make its way into the world. We think of the authors whose publication dates have been delayed, complicating not only their financial lives but all other plans, professional and personal. We think of the authors whose new books are coming out right now, at a moment when the realities of everyday life can feel all-consuming, and when libraries are shuttered and many bookstores have closed or laid off workers.
We think of those dedicated booksellers and bookstore owners who fear for the future of their retail homes, which even in good times can be difficult to keep going. We are heartened to hear of stores that are maintaining and even beefing up their online presence and manning their phone lines, offering curbside delivery to customers in their communities.
We think as well of authors’ co-creators, the people who work in the publishing industry — editors, copy editors, publicists, art directors, illustrators, salespeople, marketing executives and publishers — who are now, like many of us, working from home offices with all their complications. Many in publishing have taken pay cuts, been furloughed or lost jobs.
Which brings us back to you, our readers. We know you share our concerns about the state of the literary world we all admire and cherish. We hope that you find time and space in this difficult moment to turn to books, to let them do what they have always done: challenge us, inform us, entertain us. Books offer us the chance to escape and they force us to engage. Books are among the great empathy builders, bridging gaps that divide us geographically, politically, philosophically and demographically. At a time when many people feel isolated and alone, books bring us together.
Please join us in support of all those in the literary world during this challenging time.
— The Editors