Yakima bookstore offers free books, curbside delivery to meet residents’ need to read

Inklings Free Books

YAKIMA, Wash. — As libraries join the many places currently shut down to slow the spread of COVID-19, a Yakima bookstore is making sure no one’s without a book to read.

Inklings Bookshop is offering residents free advance reading copies, which are books that publishers send to stores who might want to sell them or review them.

“We always end up with more than any of us can read,” store manager Emily Bing said.

Normally, the bookstore sells the advance reading copies to raise money for the Yakima Schools Foundation, but with everything going on, staff said they saw a greater and more immediate need.

“With the libraries being closed, we recognize that a lot of people are stuck at home with nothing to do and nothing to read,” Bing said. “We want to do something about that.”

Bing said staff pulled out their advance reading copies and put them on tables outside the store for people to grab — it’s limited to two books per person to make supplies last.

“It’s sort of a temporary, little, free library,” Bing said. “People can just come and pick out a book — no strings attached.”

As far as potential germs go, Bing said the books are safe when they come out of the box and onto the tables, but may not stay that way with people browsing them.

“We know [the books] are being handled and there’s not really anything we can do about that,” Bing said.

What staff can do for anyone concerned about germs is sanitize the books for people before they take them home.

“Once they’ve picked out the ones that they want, all they need to do is just come into the store and ask us to sanitize the books that they want,” Bing said. “We’ll come out with wipes and wipe them down before they have to pick them up.”

In addition to the free books outside, the bookstore remains open for business. For those who may not want to come inside, staff can deliver purchases out to their car.

Prior to COVID-19 concerns, Bing said the store was already doing curbside delivery for parents with sleeping children in the car, people with limited mobility and anyone else who just prefers getting their purchases delivered to their car rather than going inside the store.

The store is also in the process of rolling out a home delivery service available for people who live within 15 miles of the store. Bing said the delivery fee is $3, which is waived for purchases of $50 or more.

“We’re flying by the seat of our pants here but we’re doing everything we can to make sure that we’re getting books into peoples’ hands,” Bing said.

Inklings Bookshop is located at 5629 Summitview Ave. in Yakima. The store is open from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday to Saturday and from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday.

The bookstore can be reached by phone at 509-965-5830, by email at sue@inklingsbookshop.com, through the store’s Facebook page or its website.