Politics and Prose provides comfort with the help of books

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The popular D.C. bookstore Politics and Prose was among the many businesses deemed nonessential when the coronavirus pandemic hit.

But don’t use the word “nonessential” when talking to the store’s owner Bradley Graham. He doesn’t agree with that assessment at all.

“I felt all along that in all kinds of previous crises, customers in need of education and in need of entertainment turn to their local bookstore,” Graham said.

A package from Politics and Prose. Photo is courtesy of Politics and Prose.

All three of Graham’s locations in the District were shut down in late March. He could only take orders on the phone and through his website and ship items out to customers.

It led to a steep drop in sales.

But recently, things have slowly started to pick up.

As the coronavirus restrictions have been relaxed across the region, Graham has been able to get back to business and once again deliver books directly to customers through curbside pickup.

“We’ve set up a pickup point,” Graham explained. “Customers call when they get here and we walk out the package, put it on a table and they step forward and pick up the package.”

And Graham is preparing for the day when he can welcome customers back inside his stores.

Employees will wash their hands frequently and wear masks and customers will be asked to have a face covering.

“We’re going to have plastic guards at the information desks and the checkout areas,” Graham said.

But the process of opening the stores will not be universal because all three locations are different sizes. The smaller the store is, the more difficult it will be to adhere to health guidelines.

In the meantime, Graham is just happy to be able to offer some comfort during an uncomfortable time with the help of books.

“Now at least with curbside pickup we can provide them more quickly and more directly,” said Graham.

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