We wanted to update you all on how Mr B’s is ready to look after your bookish needs as the Covid-19 situation continues to develop. 

From tomorrow Friday 20th March though, Mr B’s will move to being Non-Contact Open” (never say closed!)  

By that we mean that we are fully ready and available and working hard to fulfil all of your book needs as ever, but with no customer access to our physical shop floor for the time being. 
 
We have not taken the decision to restrict access to the shop lightly, and we hope it won’t be for long, but we do so in light of current government advice about public movement and behaviour and with everyone’s health, wellbeing and peace of mind as our primary concern. We recognise that we’re a retail space that people love to come and visit and spend time in, but right now (though it simultaneously feels so wrong) we feel that it is right to temporarily dissuade you from coming to the shop in person and instead to connect and shop with us in other ways. 

Our booksellers are all still working and will now focus all of their attention on looking after you and your book orders without face-to-face contact. 

How to enjoy Mr B’s without going to Mr B’s 
 
We have lots of ways that you can buy or enquire about books from us even without being able to hang out and chat to us in our beautiful shop.  

And needless to say as an independent high street business seeking to maintain our mission to inspire readers for many years to come, we’d be more grateful than ever should you choose to purchase from us at this time.  

Here’s how you do that: 

  • At www.mrbsemporium.com – where we have many themed lists of books to browse that our booksellers have curated. Each day we’ll now be adding lists reflecting the new books we’re most excited about and books we have ready and waiting for action on our shop displays. We’ll also be adding to our series of ”Staying at Home?” morale booster lists each and every day. 

There is a search bar at the top and bottom of our homepage where you can look up any book at all. If the book isn’t on our website, send us a quick enquiry when prompted and one of the team will add it straight away so that you can make a purchase if you wish. We can add almost any in-print book that you need to our site this way. We are monitoring website enquiries constantly. 

  • Through our Recommendation Station again at www.mrbsemporium.com/#recommendation-section – this is where you can tell us what you (or your gift recipient) is in the mood for and has recently read and we’ll fire you a list of recommendations based on the scattergun but brilliant brains of our booksellers. You will receive a personlised book list online for you to choose from. 
  • By email – at books@mrbsemporium.com where, as ever, we’re swiftly poised to respond to all your queries and book orders. 
  • By phone – you can phone us with any order or enquiry, or just to chat to our booksellers if you’re missing them and in need of a friendly voice or need to tell someone how good, or bad, a book is. As always the phone number is 01225 331155. We’ve also added a second shop mobile phone line to make sure everyone can get through, which is 07546 479 908. If you do catch us when we’re busy then you can leave a message and we’ll get back to you very swiftly. 

By any of these methods you can order books, our vouchers for future use, our reading subscriptions or anything else you usually come to us for – either for you or for anyone else in your life who needs cheering up. As ever we’d be honoured to be trusted with finding the right book for you or your loved one at this time. 

Shipping – We always offer free shipping for orders over £30. Until 31st March we’ve halved our rates on other book orders to just £2 per order for 1st class and £1.50 per order for 2nd class.  

Other ways we’re planning to stay in touch 
 
Our Mr B’s Youtube Channel will launch today! You can find it right here or from links via social media and our website.   

For those with children at home, we’re keen to help keep our young people book obsessed and give you time to make a cup of tea, so we’ll be launching a Kids’ Story Time, launching at 2pm today. Our booksellers will read some of their favourite books and some great new picture books from our beautiful “Wood between the Words” children’s room. You’ll also be able to watch our booksellers raving on about their favourite books for all ages. 

We’ll be reaching out with all manner of other remote-bookselling initiatives in the days ahead so keep a close eye on our website, facebook page and twitter/instagram @mrbsemporium 

Finally, we’re going to go to particular lengths to shout about books scheduled for publication right around now whose authors are missing out on the usual hubbub and acclaim and are much in need of all of our support. 

How are the Mr B’s team doing? 

The Mr B’s team are all in fine health right now and, despite sharing the same worries as you all and watching the world through the same bemused wide-eyes, we are absolutely brimming with determination to offer our customers the very best and most creative customer service we possibly can.  

We will be working, with health precautions in place, from the shop’s office spaces and, occasionally and where plausible, from home. From our offices we’ll process and honour orders placed through our website and all the other methods that we’ve described above. And of course, our subscriptions team will be working hard preparing for the next send-out of bespoke reading subscription books for all of our subscribers.  If any of our team do need to self-isolate then, of course, we’ll be supporting them as they do that.  

How is the supply of books looking?
We are lucky to have close and collaborative relationships with all our friends in publishing and in book distribution. We’re in daily contact with many of them and it’s heartening that they’re going to great lengths to support us, their high street partners, and to safely keep the supply of books working efficiently. Similarly we are encouraged by the messaging coming from Royal Mail who will be heroically making sure all deliveries continue to be made. 

Even if an item isn’t in our shop stock, we’re still able to order and receive books on a daily basis and to order for delivery books that are trickier to find. A pandemic can’t temper our determination to go to track down the books our customers’ most need.  

Events
We are, inevitably, in the process of postponing and cancelling scheduled events for the coming weeks. We will keep the status of each event updated on our website and will notify ticket holders to offer refunds or the option of holding credits for future events. Please bear with us as we go through that process and rest assured we will be in touch.  

Reading Spas 
We are postponing all Reading Spas until 31st March 2020 and are in the process of contacting all those with bookings to explain how we plan to get those rescheduled.  

Thanks

A huge thank you to all of our customers, friends and partners. Your support, kind words, commitment to great books and custom has never meant more to us than now. We hope you are all staying healthy and finding ways to cope. 

It’s a time of great uncertainty for everyone but it’s important for you our customers to know, that we regard our entire Mr B’s bookselling team as family and we are and will do everything in our power to protect their wellbeing and financial stability. 

A final word in solidarity with the other bookshops of the UK and Ireland. We’re speaking constantly at the moment to our many friends on other high streets up and down the land; sharing ideas and inspiration and providing one another with support where necessary. Thanks to you all, the reading public, for continuing to engage with them all just as you are with us.