Mobile bookstore promotes reading during COVID-19 lockdown

This mobile bookstore in Guadalajara invites people to travel with their imagination

Mobile bookstore promotes reading during Mexico’s COVID-19 lockdown
English 07/05/2020 15:55 EFE Mexico City Actualizada 16:15
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Don Quixote’s fantasies, Julio Cortázar’s short stories, childhood adventures, and food recipes are part of the “Mobile Bookstore” that traverses Guadalajara, Mexico to promote reading among those who stay at home to protect themselves and others from SARS-CoV-2.

Macario Zamora, the founder of the bookstore, said in an interview to EFE that his objective is for people to be able to “travel” through books as an alternative to spend their time during the current health crisis.

He thinks this is a great opportunity to promote reading in a country where 4 out of every 10 people read one book per year and where the yearly reading average is of 3.4 books, according to information from the Reading Unit of the National Institute for Statistics and Geography (INEGI) in 2019.

“There are many people spending a lot of time at home; it’s tiresome to watch the TV or to be in the computer and I think that the best way to travel is by using our imagination, that is why we recommend people to read, to travel from home by reading,” he said.

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Zamora owns the bookstore called “Don Quixote’s Attic” that had to close in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

He had to look for options to have an income and to keep paying his four employees and affect his book providers the least.

His client’s demand for home delivery service reminded him of an idea he had a while ago: He adapted his van to make a mobile bookstore with between 2,000 and 2,500 books from all literary genres.

Since then, he has been driving around Guadalajara to take his books wherever clients need them.

“Those who want us to bring them books call us or send us messages through social medial; we make an appointment and go to their homes. We have up to seven appointments per day because sometimes we need to far-away places; people are mostly asking for self-help books and classic literature,” he explained.

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When the van opens its doors, people discover a universe of literature: Fernando del Paso, William Shakespeare, Og Mandino, Alejandro Jodorowsky, Honore de Balzac, Isabel Allende, and many others are present at the narrow hallway that ends with a sofa and a small rug.

After disinfecting his hand with hand sanitizer, the readers can sail through the shelves to choose a book and sit down to see its pages.

The place feels like a shelter from the confinement, an opportunity to forget about the outside world.

Macario waits patiently and guides the readers. With his experience in books, he asserts that what he cares about the most is for everyone to have access to culture.

“It’s expensive [to transport it] but ‘The Attic” has understood that we’re providing a service to the clients that have given us their support for 15 years; now that they cannot leave their homes, we’re trying to give them back what they have given us for so many years,” he said.

In addition, the Mobile Bookstore has a campaign in which they will gift a novel to those clients who donate 1 kg of rice or beans.

Their objective is to raise one ton of these foods that will be donated to poor people who have been affected by the lockdown to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

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