Read all about it! Indie bookstores get helping hand to weather lockdown storm

Financial help is on hand to help Krakow’s small and independent bookstores struggling during the coronavirus lockdown. Austeria Księgarnie/Facebook

In a bid to help local bookshops weather the coronavirus pandemic storm, Kraków has launched a book-saving project.

Organised by the Kraków Festival Office and the Mayor’s office, the project called ‘Resistant Bookshops’ will give financial assistance to small, independent bookstores in the city.

With over 75 independent bookshops in the city, the smaller firms have been struggling to compete with larger chains or online retailers such as Amazon during the coronavirus lockdown.

The project called ‘Resistant Bookshops’ is geared towards independent sellers of new and second-hand or antique books. Bookshop chains are not allowed to take part.Massolit/Facebook

Izabela Helbin, director of the Kraków Festival Office said: “We are aware of the importance of bookstores for Krakow's cultural and literary identity, which is why, together with the Mayor of Kraków, we decided to launch the only programme in the country that allows direct support for bookstores in the era of an unprecedented economic crisis, which also affects culture.” 

Since 2013, the city which is home to the Jagiellonian University, the oldest university in Poland and one of the oldest in Europe, has been part of UNESCO’s Creative Cities’ Network as a Creative City of Literature, which includes promoting reading and supporting the book industry.

The project is geared towards independent bookshops in Kraków, and covers sellers of new and second-hand or antique books. Bookshop chains are not allowed to take part.

Izabela Helbin, director of the Kraków Festival Office which is behind the project said: “We are aware of the importance of bookstores for Krakow's cultural and literary identity.”Press materials

Bookshops can apply to take part by filling out a form and sending it to the organisers by email. Selected bookshops will receive financial support.

The programme’s budget is 100,000 złoty (22,000 euros). Bookshops will be able to receive up to 10,000 złoty gross each.

Since 2013, the city has been part of UNESCO’s Creative Cities’ Network as a Creative City of Literature, which includes promoting reading and supporting the book industry.UNESCO

The selection criteria will include the quality and the diversity of the literature being sold, as well as bookshops’ engagement in cultural life in Kraków.

Helbin said: “Small bookshops are not only places that can be compared to an art gallery because of the richness and diversity of their opinion-forming, tailored selection of books, but also lively and active centres of cultural life.”