The booksellers of Paris, registered in the inventory of intangible cultural heritage in France, are emblematic of the capital, with their boxes arranged along the banks of the Seine. Contact with the public is essential for these sellers who have had to adapt to a period of confinement.
→ READ. The booksellers enter the French intangible heritage
For Jérôme Callais, president of the association of booksellers of Paris, confinement came in an already difficult context : “We are not neighborhood booksellers, you have to come on purpose to see us”. The clientele, made up of a third of foreigners, a third of provincials and a third of Ile-de-France residents, is now rare: “The booksellers who opened during the week have sold almost nothing”, he laments.
Books, but not only
It is in this context that David Nosek, bookseller for forty years, launched a website to help sellers. Sure bouquinistesdeparis.com the visitor can search to find what interests him. The creator specifies that the transactions do not take place online: the buyer is put in contact with the bookseller, who sends him an order form by email. He can cancel the order at any time.
E-commerce is preparing for a merry Christmas
On the site, the buyer can find, in addition to books, autographs, postcards, drawings, old documents, engravings … Since its launch, at the start of the second containment, around 50 sales have been made for one just under € 3,000 for all booksellers.
Among the 200 booksellers in Paris, 50 are already registered on the site: “Some already sell online (via personal sites, Editor’s note), but here it’s completely free for them ”, insists David Nosek. He knows that this project does not convince all professionals: “The job of a bookseller consists above all in keeping a box, and not in selling on the Internet. “
Help in times of crisis
Jerome Callais sees the site as a additional asset, which could help attract new customers : “It recreates a link, the idea is that people can come and collect their purchases on the docks. It is one element among others that can help us get through the crisis. “ He notes that this initiative can also alert people to the difficulties encountered by this unique profession, complementary to classic bookstores.
In 2021, the president of the association of booksellers of Paris expects great difficulties to persist. The only glimmer of hope for the association is the possible inclusion of second-hand booksellers in the decree for listing the Banks of the Seine as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Another opportunity to recognize the originality of this profession.