The Booksellers Association of the United Kingdom & Ireland Limited
Last updated 27/03/20
 
The Booksellers Association is continuing to monitor the situation surrounding the coronavirus outbreak (COVID-19) and we will continue to update members and share advice from our trusted partners.  If you have any questions or concerns please email us
 
The coronavirus crisis is having a big impact on life in the UK and Ireland.  We remain concerned about the impact on booksellers, their families, their businesses and wider high street communities. 
 
We urge booksellers to continue to take the normal precautions as advised by the Government, and the BA is monitoring the situation carefully.  We are obviously recommending calm and measured responses to the situation at all points, and are here as a point of contact for members should you need us.  Bookshops remain a source of knowledge and information, insight and expertise at challenging times, and that remains true at this moment. Please do let us know of any particular concerns you have; hearing from members helps us tailor our responses.
 
BA members have access to a number of advice points for information on the virus. 
 
Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme - how will it work? (updated 27/3/20) 
With thanks to the British Retail Consortium, we are pleased to be able to share with you the latest Government information on the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.
 
Remember to use our Business Support Helpline if you need specific advice on employment issues - you can get free and unlimited advice on employment law, health and safety, tax and VAT advice on 08445 618133 (quote BA Scheme Number 31937). 
 
You can read the full Government guidance here - https://www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-for-wage-costs-through-the-coronavirus-job-retention-scheme

The Chancellor has recognised that “social distancing” restrictions imposed on business operations have led to critical cash-flow pressures making it difficult, if not impossible, to continue to pay wages and operate as a going concern. The Chancellor’s response is the launch of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. The CJRS is intended to prevent workers being made redundant. Employers will be eligible for a direct government grant of up to 80% of the wage (up to a maximum of £2,500 per month) of any employee the business cannot afford to keep working. The employer must keep the employee on its payroll.
 
Which employers are eligible for the grant?
• The scheme is open to all UK employers that had a PAYE scheme in place on 28 February 2020
• Any organisation with employees can apply, including charities, recruitment agencies and public authorities. However, the government does not expect public sector employers to use it, as long as central government continues funding wage costs in the normal way. With agency employees, the scheme is only available for agency employees who are not working.
 
How will the scheme work?
• The scheme will take retrospective effect from 1 March 2020 and will be available until 1 June 2020, at the earliest. The Chancellor has promised to extend it if necessary.
• There is no upper limit on the funding the government will make available and no limit to the number of employees that an employer will be eligible to seek a grant for. HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) will operate the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.
• Employers can reclaim up to 80% of wage costs up to a cap of £2,500 per month, plus (not including) the associated employer NICs and minimum auto-enrolment pension contributions on that wage. Fees, commissions and bonuses are not included.
• An employer can choose to top up to 100%, but does not have to (subject to employment law and renegotiating any contractual entitlements)
• For employees whose pay varies, the employer can claim for the higher of the same month's earning from the previous year (eg earnings from March 2019) or average monthly earnings in the 2019-20 tax year
• Individuals are only entitled to the minimum wage for the hours they work. So if they are furloughed and do not work, and 80% of their normal earnings would take them below the minimum wage based on their normal working hours, they still only receive 80% as they are not working. However, they are entitled to be paid NMW for any time spent training.
• Employers can only claim once every three weeks, ie they cannot get weekly reimbursement.
• Furlough leave must be taken in minimum blocks of three weeks to be eligible for funding.
• There is nothing in the guidance which prohibits rotating furlough leave amongst employees, provided each employee is off for a period of at least three weeks.
 
Who can be furloughed?
• To be eligible, the employee must have been on the payroll on 28 February 2020. If they were hired later, they are not eligible. Anybody who was on the payroll on 28 Feb and has since been made redundant can be rehired and put on the scheme.
• The employee must not be working at all. If they work for even an hour (presumably during their entire three-week furlough period), they are not eligible. However, they are able to undertake training and do volunteer work, provided they do not provide services to or make any money for their employer.
• Employees on sickpay or self-isolating cannot be furloughed, but can be furloughed afterwards. Employees who are shielding can be placed on furlough.
• Employees on maternity leave can continue to draw SMP payments. The guidance does not prohibit women on maternity leave agreeing to return to work early and then being furloughed, or electing to change to shared parental leave and then being furloughed.
 
To take advantage of the scheme, employers must:
• Designate the affected employees as ‘furloughed workers’
• When agreeing changes in hours (and acceptance of 80% pay), assuming the contract does not already allow for that, normal employment law applies. The employer must be careful not to discriminate in deciding who to offer furlough too.
• Notify the affected employees of this designation. It should be noted that any change in the status of an employee’s employment is subject to certain protections under existing employment law and the employment contract. A negotiation may be necessary.
• Notify HMRC about the ‘furloughed workers’, their earnings and other information as yet unspecified, through a new online portal.

The government will issue further guidance on the mechanics of claiming the payment in due course. It is expected the scheme will be up and running by the end of April.

BA Business Support Helpline
Croner run our Business Support Helpline, where you can get free and unlimited advice on employment law, health and safety, tax and VAT advice – you can call the BA Business Support Helpline on 08445 618133 (quote BA Scheme Number 31937). 

(Updated 26th March) You can read Croner’s latest help and advice on employment law and COVID-19 information here https://clients.croner.co.uk/covid-19-partner-toolkit/. Croner's most recent Coronavirus Q+A is here: https://croner.co.uk/resources/business-advice/coronavirus-qa-advice-for-employers/ 
 
Croner will be able to help advise you on the impacts of the virus on your employment and health and safety policies, so please do use the service if you need advice. Croner have put contingency measures in place to ensure the helpline will remain open.
 
Retail Trust Wellbeing Service
BA members also have access to our Retail Trust Wellbeing service – free to independent members of the BA, this can help provide counselling and advice services for those affected.  You and your staff can call the Retail Trust on 0808 801 0808 (in Ireland call 1 800 911 810) – you can also visit www.retailtrust.org.uk/wellbeing
 
retailTRUST have produced a toolkit of COVID-19 resources https://www.myrtwellbeing.org.uk/looking-after-you/physical-wellbeing/latest-information-on-covid-19. These articles range from how to work from home, how to manage staff remotely, how to look after your mental health and how to care for those around you.

Please do consider using these services – especially if you are worried about impacts on well being and mental health, or just want some practical advice or information.
 
British Retail Consortium
The BA is working with the BRC who have a number of FAQs on the virus which we have shared with members last week including this Business Best Practice pocket guide

Government Information
The biggest announcements during the press conference on the 23rd March came from the Chancellor who revealed that the Government is launching the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. It will be available to all employers in the country to apply for grants from HMRC to cover up to 80% of the salary of retained workers up to £2,500 per month. Employers can top up the rest of their employees salary if they choose to do so. The Government will backdate these payments to 1 March so anyone who has been on your payroll until 28 February is eligible. The Scheme will run for at least 3 months and will be reviewed in June. HMRC aim to pay the first grants in the next few week and be fully up and running by the end of April.
 
The above measures for employees are very welcome and will go someway to covering the fixed costs bookshops face. However the offering for self-employed people is not as generous. The Government has raised increased the basic allowance of Universal Credit by £1,000 per year and the Working Tax Credits Allowance by the same amount. The minimum income floor has been suspended for Universal Credit meaning the self-employed people can now access Universal Credit at a rate equivalent to SSP. HMRC has deferred the next self-assessment payments to January 2021. We are disappointed that the Government is not offering the same support to self-employed people as salaried employees. We will, along with many other trade groups across the country, be calling for the Government to urgently do much more to support self-employed people across the UK.

Government Coronavirus action plan
The Government has set out a £12 billion package of temporary relief to help public services, individuals and businesses. This includes, for English businesses, extending the Business Rates Retail Discount from the previously announced increase of 50% in 2020-21 to 100% in 2021 to support small businesses affected by COVID-19. The Chancellor also announced small business grant funding which will provide £3,000 to around 700,000 business currently eligible for Small Business Rates Relief through local authority funding in England.
 
We have contacted the devolved administrations in Edinburgh, Cardiff and Belfast to demand they take similar steps to ensure that booksellers across the UK are offered appropriate help through this challenging time.  We also encourage members located in the devolved nations to contact directly your local MSP, AM or MLA asking them to take immediate action to bring the devolved nations into line with action taken in England.
 
There was also support offered to help businesses struggling with the costs of Statutory Sick Pay (SSP). The Government has committed to refunding SSP costs for up to 14 days where employees have claimed SSP as a result of COVID-19. Businesses with fewer than 250 employees will be eligible.
 
In addition, the Chancellor announced that the Government will support businesses that experience increased costs or disruptions to their cashflow. This includes a Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme to support up to a further £1 billion lending to SMEs which will be backed by the Government. The Government stated it will ensure that businesses in financial distress and with outstanding tax liabilities receive support with their tax affairs. HMRC has set up a dedicated COVID-19 helpline to help those in need, and they may be able to agree a bespoke Time to Pay arrangement.
 
Most of the support offered applies to smaller businesses with very little on offer for larger high street retailers. We are very supportive of the British Retail Consortium’s call for more to be done to help large chains across the country and we will be working alongside them to fight for all our members, large and
small.

BA Update following the Prime Minister's Announcement ​
Following the PM announcement last night (23rd March 2020):
  • - The full guidance is here
  • - This applies across the UK i.e. including the Devolved Nations.
 
Headlines are:
  • - All online retail to remain open and encouraged (see page 3, paragraph 3 of the guidance document)
  • - All physical retail must close with the exception of supermarkets and other food shops, health shops, pharmacies including dispensing pharmacies, petrol stations, bicycle shops, home and hardware shops, pet shops, corner shops, and newsagents
  • - All retail premises that are open must:
    • Ensure safe distance of two metres between customers and staff
    • Let people enter the shops in small groups, to ensure spaces are not overcrowded
    • Queue control is required
  • - Food delivery and takeaway can remain operations as can cafes or canteens at hospitals, care homes, schools or prisons
 
The BA has received many requests from its members about clarification on the safety and wisdom of continuing with online sales.  Many of you have worked to set that up and have orders to honour, and trade still flowing to your online store.
 
The Prime Minister’s statement stated clearly that online should continue.  But clearly booksellers have a duty of care for their staff and our recommendation is the following:
 
  • - BA members should fulfil online orders for as long as they feel comfortable doing so, and in compliance with all government guidelines
  • - BA members should opt to use third party fulfilment options where at all possible – Gardners Home Delivery, the post office, couriers where possible – contact Gardners to find out more about their Home Delivery options on  01323 525666.
  • - Hand delivery should be avoided to keep bookselling staff at good social distance and to prevent infection
 
Helen Dickinson, CEO of the British Retail Consortium said this morning :
 
“Retailers understand the need for government to act quickly and decisively to protect public health and combat coronavirus. The safety of customers and staff is paramount, which is why retailers have responded swiftly and positively to evolving government guidance on social distancing and other hygiene matters. Indeed, many retailers had gone further and already closed shops temporarily.
 
Others have continued to provide essential products and services to their customers, both from physical stores and online. Any retailers that remain open will be following the very latest government public health guidance to ensure they do everything they can to ensure the safety of customers & staff.”
 
The other vexed question is around the application for 80% furlough funding for laid off staff. The government information is still patchy on this and the link is here– we will endeavour to send you information and advice on this as it comes online.

UK Government Information
The best place for general advice remains the .gov.uk site https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-employers-and-businesses-about-covid-19/guidance-for-employers-and-businesses-on-covid-19
 
Irish Government Information
Healthcare advice is available here https://www.gov.ie/en/campaigns/c36c85-covid-19-coronavirus/

Irish bookshops should get in touch with Retail Excellence Ireland for information and advice:

Unit 10, Leopardstown Office Park
Sandyford, Dublin 18,
Ireland, D18 FK72
T: +353 (0)65 684 6927
E: info@retailexcellence.ie
W: https://www.retailexcellence.ie/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/RetailExcellenceIreland/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/retail_excellence/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/RetailExIreland

Scotish Government Information
The Scottish government has announced a range of measures to help Scottish businesses and we will be finding out more on behalf of booksellers about accessing help and grant.  https://www.gov.scot/news/gbp-320-million-package-of-support-for-businesses/

Employment and HR 
For advice on employment and HR issues around coronavirus https://www.acas.org.uk/coronavirus

Bookseller-to-Bookseller Forum
We realise that booksellers may well wish to ask each other questions and compare notes at this challenging time.  The best place to do this online is on the BA’s Booksellers Network Facebook Page, which is a private group exclusive to BA members.  You can request to join the Group as long as you are a bookseller working in a BA member bookshop. To do so, click here, request to join the group and answer the questions. Once you are approved into the group, you will have access to over 300 booksellers in the group who share information and ideas. Please email pippa.halpin@booksellers.org.uk or kara.rennie@booksellers.org.uk if you have any questions. 

Social Media Messaging
The BA will be encouraging consumers to support their local bookshop via the Books Are My Bag social media channels using the #ChooseBookshops messaging. We also encourage booksellers to update their customers via their social media channels and suggest different ways they are able to buy books from them during the coronavirus outbreak (COVID-19).

You can download our Reasons to Shop at Your Local Bookshop social media banners below:
Suggested socia media copy below (please adapt for your own channels as necessary):

- Bookshops are great places of solace, information, community and friendship. They are also well-placed to take orders over the phone, provide personal shopping via social and post you your next great read. Support your high street in these challenging times #ChooseBookshops 

- Connection matters. Community matters. Bookshops matter. Now, more than ever, remember to support your local bookshop. #ChooseBookshops

- Are you social-distancing? You’ll need some reading material. If you can’t make it to your local bookshop, get in touch with them via phone and Twitter and they’ll post the books straight to your home. #ChooseBookshops

- Bookshops are great community hubs, especially during troubled times. They can give great recommendations and help with bookish requirements over the phone and on social media, and then post straight to your door. #ChooseBookshops

We've also created various social assets for bookshops who are taking orders via online shops/social media/email/phone:
- Bookshops Are Open For Business Twitter & Facebook
- Bookshops Are Open For Business Instagram
- Bookshops Are Open For Business Instagram Stories

- Virtual Book Events Twitter & Facebook
- Virtual Book Events Instagram
- Virtual Book Events Instagram Stories

- Bookshops Can Get Books To You Twitter & Facebook
- Bookshops Can Get Books To You Instagram
- Bookshops Can Get Books To You Instagram Stories 

Packaging Resources for Posting Books
 
We assume most booksellers will be looking to increase their mail order activity in order to continue selling books to customers without shop visits being necessary.  We are gathering information about packaging suppliers for members and list them below.  Please do let us know if you have suppliers to add to this list. 
 
W E Roberts 
T: 01474 410010
E: k.batts@wer.co.uk
W: www.wer.co.uk

DS Smith Packaging

T: 020 7756 1800
W: www.dssmithepack.co.uk

Macfarlane Packaging
T: 0800 2888 444
W: www.macfarlanepackaging.com

RAJA UK
T: 0808 231 9773
W: www.rajapack.co.uk

Kite Packaging
W: https://www.kitepackaging.co.uk/
E: service@kitepackaging.co.uk
T: 024 7642 0065

lil Packaging
W: 
https://www.lilpackaging.com/
E: sales@lilpackaging.com
T: 01480 396 200 

Home Delivery Services
 
Booksellers are already offering home delivery options to consumers to ensure that book lovers know that bookshops are able to recommend and supply books during the crisis.
 
Both wholesalers offer B2C services on behalf of bookshops, so if you are a customer of Gardners or of Bertrams you should contact them to find out more – Gardners Home Delivery is here https://www.gardners.com/Services and Bertrams Send My Book is here https://www.bertrams.com/BertWeb/index.jsp?s=1370

Unwin Charitable Trust Mentoring Programme
The Unwin Charitable Trust Mentoring Programme continues to offer mentoring and advice to BA members during this challenging time, by giving help over the phone or by video call. If you would like to know more, you can email pippa.halpin@booksellers.org.uk or visit the Unwin Charitable Trust’s website or contact the Programme’s administrator, Margaret Wilson mentoring@unwincharitabletrust.org.uk.

Coronavirus – BA Events
 The Booksellers Association is postponing Spring conferences and events for members due to the spread of the Coronavirus and the concerns surrounding large gatherings.
 
The following events have been affected:
 
- The Irish Book Trade Conference, due to take place on the 20th March, will now take place on Friday 9th October.
- The Scottish Book Trade conference, due to take place on the 21st April, will take place towards the end of September.
- The Academic Book Trade Conference, due to take place on the 14th and 15th May, will be held in November.
- The Bookshop Social at Drake the Bookshop due to take place on the 25th March will also be postponed.
For updates on other BA Bookshop Socials please contact naomi.gane@booksellers.org.uk
 
We will keep members and delegates up to date with our plans and confirm revised event dates as soon as we can, whilst monitoring the coronavirus situation very closely over the coming weeks and months.

General Guidance on Coronavirus Action
COVID-19 (Coronavirus)
Stay at home guidance has been issued by the Government and is available here
Below are some resources for retailers with regard to the developing situation on COVID-19 (Coronavirus). 
 
The Government has published its coronavirus action plan which provides information on what further action can be expected from the Government in response to coronavirus. 
 
The action plan sets out what is known about the virus and the disease it causes, how the government has planned for an infectious disease outbreak, the actions taken so far in response to the coronavirus outbreak, what the government plan to do next depending on the course of the outbreak, and the role that the public can play in supporting this response, now and in the future.
 
What to do if a member of staff or the public with suspected COVID-19 has recently been in your workplace
For contacts of a suspected case in the workplace, no restrictions or special control measures are required while laboratory test results for COVID19 are awaited. In particular, there is no need to close the workplace or send other staff home at this point. Most possible cases turn out to be negative. Therefore, until the outcome of test results is known there is no action that the workplace needs to take.
 
What to do if a member of staff or the public with confirmed COVID-19 has recently been in your workplace
Closure of the workplace is not recommended.
 
The management team of the office or workplace will be contacted by the PHE local Health Protection Team to discuss the case, identify people who have been in contact with them and advise on any actions or precautions that should be taken.
 
A risk assessment of each setting will be undertaken by the Health Protection Team with the lead responsible person. Advice on the management of staff and members of the public will be based on this assessment.
 
The Health Protection Team will also be in contact with the case directly to advise on isolation and identifying other contacts and will be in touch with any contacts of the case to provide them with appropriate advice.
 
Advice on cleaning of communal areas such as offices or toilets will be given by the Health Protection Team.
 
When individuals in the workplace have had contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19
 
If a confirmed case is identified in your workplace, the local Health Protection Team will provide the relevant staff with advice. These staff include:
  • any employee in close face-to-face or touching contact
  • talking with or being coughed on for any length of time while the employee was symptomatic
  • anyone who has cleaned up any bodily fluids
  • close friendship groups or workgroups
  • any employee living in the same household as a confirmed case
 
Contacts are not considered cases and if they are well they are very unlikely to have spread the infection to others:
  • those who have had close contact will be asked to self-isolate at home for 14 days from the last time they had contact with the confirmed case and follow the home isolation advice sheet
  • they will be actively followed up by the Health Protection Team
  • if they develop new symptoms or their existing symptoms worsen within their 14-day observation period they should call NHS 111 for reassessment
  • if they become unwell with cough, fever or shortness of breath they will be tested for COVID-19
  • if they are unwell at any time within their 14-day observation period and they test positive for COVID-19 they will become a confirmed case and will be treated for the infection
 
Staff who have not had close contact with the original confirmed case do not need to take any precautions and can continue to attend work.
 
Certifying absence from work
By law, medical evidence is not required for the first 7 days of sickness. After 7 days, it is for the employer to determine what evidence they require, if any, from the employee. This does not need to be fit note (Med 3 form) issued by a GP or other doctor.
Your employee will be advised to isolate themselves and not to work in contact with other people by NHS 111 or PHE if they are a carrier of, or have been in contact with, an infectious or contagious disease, such as COVID-19.
We strongly suggest that employers use their discretion around the need for medical evidence for a period of absence where an employee is advised to self-isolate due to suspected COVID-19, in accordance with the public health advice being issued by the government.
 
Advice for staff returning from travel anywhere else in the world within the last 14 days
Currently, there are minimal cases outside the listed areas and therefore the likelihood of an individual coming into contact with a confirmed case is extremely low.
These staff can continue to attend work unless they have been informed that they have had contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19
If individuals are aware that they have had close contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19 they should contact NHS 111 for further advice.
The latest country information is available on the NaTHNac Travel Pro website.
 
Handling post, packages or food from affected areas
Employees should continue to follow existing risk assessments and safe systems of work. There is no perceived increase in risk for handling post or freight from specified areas.
 
Cleaning offices and public spaces where there are suspected or confirmed cases of COVID-19
Coronavirus symptoms are similar to a flu-like illness and include cough, fever, or shortness of breath. Once symptomatic, all surfaces that the person has come into contact with must be cleaned including:
  • all surfaces and objects which are visibly contaminated with body fluids
  • all potentially contaminated high-contact areas such as toilets, door handles, telephones
Public areas where a symptomatic individual has passed through and spent minimal time in (such as corridors) but which are not visibly contaminated with body fluids do not need to be specially cleaned and disinfected.
If a person becomes ill in a shared space, these should be cleaned using disposable cloths and household detergents, according to current recommended workplace legislation and practice.
 
Bank of England Package
The Bank of England have also announced a comprehensive package of measures to help UK businesses and households bridge across the economic disruption that is likely to be associated with COVID-19. Interest rates have been reduced from 0.75% to 0.25% and additional funding will be available for banks to increase lending, especially to SMEs.
 
Government Guidance for Employers, Employees and Businesses 
 
The Government's official guidance is available here. It includes information on the following areas: 
  • How to help prevent spread of all respiratory infections including COVID-19
  • What to do if someone with suspected or confirmed to have COVID-19 has been in a workplace setting
  • What advice to give to individuals who have travelled to specific areas, as outlined by the Chief Medical Officer (full list is available here)
  • Advice for the certification of absence from work resulting from Covid-19
 
Sick Pay
ACAS (the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service) has published guidance for employers and employees which states that it is good practice for employers to treat self-isolation as sick leave and follow their usual sick pay policy or agree for the time to be taken as holiday. However, ACAS has said that “there’s no legal (statutory) right to pay if someone is not sick but cannot work because they have been told by a medical expert to self-isolate, have had to go into quarantine, are abroad in an affected area and are not allowed to travel back to the UK”. 

Support From Suppliers
The BA has spent the week talking to publishers and other suppliers about putting in place measures to ensure that booksellers are able to manage their cashflow through this incredibly challenging time.  These include extended credit terms, which are an immediate way for booksellers to continue trading – even if your physical shop has to close – so that you can continue to buy stock to sell online and on social media.  Booksellers are being incredibly innovative and creative in how they are carrying on their bookselling activity, and we want to ensure you can all keep doing that, if you choose to.  Please check the website to see our social media assets designed to help you promote your bookshop to your customers.
 
All the publishers we have talked to are pro-actively seeking ways to alleviate to the commercial challenges of independent booksellers particularly, and are all putting in place plans for helping to cushion the impact of bills coming due.  All of the publishers we talked to had plans in place to offer customers improved terms.  Moreover, they are all open to being approached by booksellers with individual requests.
 
We are therefore encouraging all independent members of the BA to pro-actively approach their main suppliers and request extended credit terms.  Some booksellers have already started to do this, and a straw poll would indicate that a good starting point might be to consider asking for 90-days extended credit on aged invoices, and the same on forthcoming invoices.  Each bookseller will obviously have their own approach, but the BA is encouraging booksellers to be pro-active and bold in asking for help. The suppliers are expecting to be asked, and are poised to offer you help.  Please make sure you access all the help you can.
 
The same goes for asking for support from your landlord – be bold and ask for no or very low rent for the coming quarter in these exceptional circumstances.
 
Hive Increases Commission to Independents
An offer has come to us from Hive and Gardners - over the next few months Hive will be offering double the amount of commission on home delivery book sales orders placed through the site.  A minimum of 10% of the net value of each sale will be paid.
 
“After an initial conversation with new BA President Andy Rossiter, outgoing president Nick Bottomley and MD Meryl Halls about how we can offer additional support, the enhanced commission offering was formed.   Gardners are also having ongoing conversations with publishers to further enhance this offering. Where publishers are offering support with additional terms, this will be reflected in commissions being enhanced even further, but will not change the pricing on the site, so we can pass as much as possible to the hive network of independent shops.   The additional commissions will be backdated to start from 1st March until further notice.
 
Andy Rossiter, BA President, said: “At a critical time for high street independent bookselling, it is essential that we make it as easy as possible for bookshops to sell to consumers.  This initiative from Gardners and Hive will make it more attractive and feasible for booksellers to offer online sales, and we are very pleased to see a project designed to maximise the chances of bookshops creatively responding to this challenging crisis, and ensuring their ongoing survival.”
 
If you would like to sign your bookshop up to the Hive network, please speak with your Gardners sales contact in the first instance – or contact Nikki Daigneault nikki.daigneault@gardners.com  01323 525666.“
 
Member Survey – What Matters to You Most?
We have put together a brief survey to make sure that we are prioritising the right things in our lobbying with government and with suppliers.  If you can please fill in this survey, it will help us keep on top of the right issues.  https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/BACovid19


BA Special Measures for Independent Booksellers
  1. The BA will waive all 2020 Subscriptions for independents with a subscription fee under £1,000 – those who have not yet paid will have the debt cancelled; those who have already paid will have their subscription fee refunded within the next two weeks
  2. National Book Tokens will improve payment terms to all independent BA members. Book Tokens will continue to pay all customers whose account is in credit at month end as usual, but will not require payment for 90 days from independent booksellers whose accounts are in debit at month end. This will come into immediate effect.
  3. The BA Group will donate £30,000 to the Book Trade Charity, with the intention that the money is used for hardship grants for booksellers affected by the current crisis – to find out more about how to access personal (not business) grants from the Book Trade Charity please see here http://www.btbs.org/ and email info@booktradecharity.org


Bookseller Hardship Fund – Apply Now
 
We are really pleased to let you know that the Booksellers Hardship Fund, administered on behalf of the trade by the Book Trade Charity, BTBS, is now a joint initiative between the BA, PRH (and other publishers, we hope) and the organisers of the GoFundMe fundraiser for booksellers which went live on Twitter this week.  The Fund is targetted at booksellers affected by Covid-19 and is now aiming, via the collaboration between Penguin Random House UK and the BA, to increase its funding target to £100,000.
 
Organisers Gayle Lazda, Zeljka Marosevic and Kishani Widyaratna launched the initiative to raise £10,000 last week, and has already raised over £7,000 of its target, thanks to generous donations from individuals across the book trade as well as authors, such as Candice Carty-Williams, Adam Kay, Jessie Burton, Reni Eddo-Lodge, Patrick Ness, David Nicholls, Kit de Waal, Sophie Mackintosh, Daisy Johnson, and others.
 
As you will know, the BA had already pledged £30,000 to The Book Trade Charity for bookseller hardship, and we will now contribute that funding to this project, in order to coordinate and focus all resources in the place that can best deliver the help booksellers need.  PRH will match every contribution £1 for £1, up to £50,000 – including matching all donations made to the fund so far.
 
The funds are available to anyone who works in a bookshop in the UK or Ireland, who finds themselves in hardship as a result of the impact of Covid-19. This includes traditional ‘booksellers’ as well as staff working behind the scenes in a bookshop.
 
The Book Trade Charity will administer all grants for people based in the UK on a case by case basis, and we are exploring how this might be administered in Ireland (the Book Trade Charity is limited to the UK by its charitable aims).
 
Tom Weldon, CEO of Penguin Random House UK, said, ‘In this strange and testing time we need to connect as an industry to support our publishing ecosystem. Bookshops and booksellers are the lifeblood of our industry, and at the heart of local communities across the UK and Ireland. We hope our contribution to this fundraiser helps give them the support they need in the coming weeks and months.’
 
Meryl Halls, Managing Director of the BA, said, ‘We are heartened by the bubbling up of support for booksellers from across the trade, and really pleased to be able to work with PRH and with Gayle, Zeljka and Kishani to collaborate on making sure we are maximizing the money being collected to help booksellers in hardship. This crisis is testing all our norms and ethical values, and it is really humbling to see this outpouring of support and love for booksellers.  We thank PRH, the crowdfunders and the Book Trade Charity on behalf of all our members, and the BA.  And we look forward to delivering real help to those who need it most.’
 
Donations can be made via the Go Fund Me page here: https://www.gofundme.com/f/fundraiser-booksellers-covid-19 - where you can also find details on how to apply.  Or you can email info@btbs.org to start that ball rolling.

Established in 1837, the Book Trade Charity provides confidential care and support to former, current and future book trade people in need with grants and housing. They provide a wide range of support through grants for re-training, living with a disability, medical need and other circumstances brought about by redundancy, sickness or other life events. They rely on the generosity of the book trade, the general public and individuals to provide vital funding. Learn more at http://www.btbs.org/