I ran along Rushop Edge last night. Well, as best I could. The skylarks have taken over. Technically speaking I was working from home, but I can assure you my journey was entirely necessary. For me the tragedy of coronavirus is elsewhere; it is something that is happening on the news. It is happening in the care homes and the hospitals. It is preying on those already in poor health. It is attacking those on the frontline fighting it and those whose jobs don’t allow them space to escape it. You know all that because it’s on the news 24/7. But for me and for a lot of people, the impact of coronavirus is just an inconvenience to our day-to-day lives, our jobs, our family, our fun. Oh, how I miss training in the dark mornings and fighting icy rain for the London Marathon. The long-term impact is not a persistent cough or a ventilator; it is our mental health, and we need to be careful of that.
Publishing has been economically tough: tough for the retailers, the distributors, the authors, us … perhaps not tough for Amazon. I brought the mood down quite successfully with my last blog, didn’t I? It will remain tough. There is no sign of the shops opening and no sign of the countryside opening up, and when they do what will that be like? Books behind screens, footpaths one at a time? So, we look to the positives.
It’s not so tough that we aren’t thriving and not so tough that we will disappear, although I think the worst is yet to come. I’d like to say it was my innate business acumen that repurposed our sales and marketing efforts and allowed us to find customers, but I suspect our customers – you lot – found us, with the help of my team here, who, can I say, have been awesome, dedicated, professional and understanding.
Stuck at home, needing to stay in touch with your outdoor self, many of you found solace in pure escapism-reading. And find us you did. For that we will always be grateful, and, in return, we will redouble our efforts to make sure we always produce the kinds of books you want – authentic, adventurous and inspiring. We want to keep our books flowing off the presses, so that’s what we are doing – whether you can go there or not. We want to make sure that despite the sad news that The Mountain Heritage Trust has been mothballed we are still seeking the out-of-print and getting it back into circulation – the Buhls and Boningtons, the Tilmans and Terrays. We are still working away to find new literature, new writers, woman and men, with adventurous tales to tell – Lee Craigee, Bernadette McDonald, Helen Mort, Élisabeth Revol, Matt Dickinson, Helen and Paul Webster, Jen and Sim Benson …
It’s a long way from being over, and in many ways it won’t ever be over, so thanks for the support and please keep an eye on us from time to time. We are trying to compete with Amazon, trying to work locally, work directly with independent bookshops and directly with you lot. Read a book, then make sure you get outside again soon, and, when it’s over, don’t let them tell you you can’t go out. Outside is where the fun is.