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Idaho's Rediscovered Books Adds A Unique Chapter With Curbside Service During COVID-19

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Rediscovered Books
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Enduring a quarantine often includes a good book, or two or three. But browsing the shelves of a local bookstore is currently out of the question during Idaho's COVID-19 stay-at-home order. The governor's order inspired Rediscovered Books to reinvent its retail model at its Boise and Caldwell bookshops.

Morning Edition host George Prentice visited with Rediscovered co-owner Laura DeLaney to talk about surviving the economic downturn and being able to see her customers again (from a social distance of course). DeLaney and Prentice also swap some of their most recent reading recommendations.

“I really love getting to see people's faces again. We're doing everything we can to maintain social distance because that's an important part of keeping our community safe.”

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Credit Laura DeLaney
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Read the full transcript below:

GEORGE PRENTICE: It's Morning Edition on Boise State Public Radio News. Good morning, I'm George Prentice. Well, nothing can quite help us through a quarantine like a good book, but getting to our favorite bookstore has been a bit of a challenge, and while the governor's stay at home order is allowing some businesses to open again, the challenge is how do you conduct business curbside?

So we're going to talk a bit about that this morning with Laura DeLaney, co-owner of Rediscovered Books in Boise and Caldwell, and Once and Future Books, also in Boise. She joins us live via Zoom this morning. Laura, good morning.

LAURA DELANEY: Good morning, George.

PRENTICE: So, paint me a word picture, how are you doing business curbside?

DELANEY: So curbside has been a joy to put together again. Having the little bit of time to think through it from our first trying it out at the end of March, we've really set this up as a table outside, a chance to actually greet people, to say hello, even if we're saying six feet apart.

Having that face-to-face interaction, even if it's across the way, has been really, really joyful because it's hard to not see people's faces when so much of our last 15 years have been spent talking to people face-to-face.

Doing this by having it be online orders through our website or over the telephone while we're there answering the phones, has made it a bit ... Of course, here's the dog barking in the background.

PRENTICE: Okay, so what's your dog's name?

DELANEY: This is Griff.

PRENTICE: Okay, well, we'll definitely let him in, then.

DELANEY: Griff is our pound dog of many years. This is her normal world. So what we have is, we ask that you place an order online, is actually our easiest way to process orders.

PRENTICE: Okay.

DELANEY: Our inventory live on our webpage, it'll tell you how many copies of each book are at whichever location. You could place the order online, pay for it with your credit card that way ...

PRENTICE: Gotcha.

DELANEY: ... and then we'll send you a message when your order is ready for pickup.

PRENTICE: So do you have specific hours that you're going to be doing this?

DELANEY: So the curbside window is from noon to 5:00, Monday through Saturday, and we've actually placed that in both locations, so in Caldwell and in Boise. We had been doing everything by delivery and now nearly everything is curbside pickup.

PRENTICE: You must love that.

DELANEY: I do. I really love getting to see people's faces again. We're doing everything we can to maintain social distance because that's an important part of keeping our community safe.

PRENTICE: Have you been able to bring back any workers, any employees?

DELANEY: We have brought back one person half-time, and then we've taken two of the people we kept half-time back to full-time over the last three weeks ... initial hard set of decisions to furlough ... people.

PRENTICE: Have you had any experience with any of the financial assistance programs for small businesses?

DELANEY: We've applied for three different kinds of things. We've applied for the PPP, we've applied for the disaster loan program, and we also tried to get just an additional line of credits through our regular banker.

We're still waiting to hear on both of those things. It's going to make a big difference. If we do get particularly the PPP loan, it's going to mean that we're going to be able to add staff back in and let people take a rest, because working in this time is hard and that PPP would let us pay people to have their full-time job but then also take some time away while still being paid.

PRENTICE: Okay, so let's talk about books. Can you give me a couple of recommendations?

DELANEY: So I'm going to tell you ….what I want to really throw out there is The Roxy Letters by Mary Pauline Lowery. Her book is an incredibly fun romp and she is a Boise native. She's going to Boise State right now. Her book's gotten incredibly good reviews nationally, and she's a local, and we've talked a lot about local business, but right now all of our windows are full of the books by the writers that live in our valley.

PRENTICE: And the name of the book is The Roxy Letters?

DELANEY: The Roxy letters, yeah.

PRENTICE: Okay. So give me a taste. What's it about?

DELANEY: It's a book that lets you laugh out loud. I don't want to give away the plot because if you tell the joke ahead of time, it's not nearly as funny. But it is [inaudible 00:04:32] of family friendships, and fun and laughter.

PRENTICE: Okay. What else is on your nightstand?

DELANEY: So a bookseller's nightstand is a terrifying thing because it can collapse any moment. But the things that actually have been here right now, I have been reading one very serious book. It's called Traitor to His Class. It's by H.W. Brands, and it's a biography of FDR. It seems somehow appropriate since it deals with many of the challenges that are going on in our world today. It's fascinating, actually.

On a lighter note, I'm reading a young adult novel by Jeff VanderMeer, called A Peculiar Peril, which is a young adult fantasy novel. Then there is The Coronation, by Boris Akunin, who is a ... It's a mystery set in Russia, an incredible gentlemen detective. And my last one is the piece that I'm still working my way through for our bilingual book club, called, I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter.

PRENTICE: Okay. So I've got one for you.

DELANEY: Okay.

PRENTICE: Because you know I love movies, I am reading a book called The Big Goodbye by Sam Wasson, which is the true story of the making of Chinatown and the end of Hollywood's platinum era, and it is so good. Sam Wasson, he wrote a book a few years back, called Fifth Avenue at 5:00 AM, about Breakfast at Tiffany's. Since I can't go to the movies, it's the next best thing and it's a really good read.

DELANEY: That sounds fabulous.

PRENTICE: Yeah, it's called The Big Goodbye. Well, Laura, we'll see you on the curb and we look forward to browsing the aisles once again. Stay healthy, stay safe.

DELANEY: Will do. Thanks, George.

Find reporter George Prentice on Twitter @georgepren

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