Readers Guide to COVID-19

Have you ever been too exhausted to take on your regularly scheduled responsibilities?

Well, we are.

The owners of Three Houses Press LLC each work in some form of education–two in book sales and distribution and one in marketing and PR. Though we have fortunately been able to avoid becoming sick thus far, we have been hit incredibly hard in our own ways by the COVID-19 pandemic. We are, quite frankly, too flippin’ tired to complete the sort of article we would normally post to our site.

So, we hope you can forgive us this week as we join what is an incredible onslaught of media on the spread of the novel Coronavirus, COVID-19. Writing about this is becoming second-nature for us at this point, making it a heck of a lot faster to write than our usual standard of article. And faster now means an extra bit of desperately needed sleep. 

And with that, I give you…

A Reader’s Survival Guide for COVID-19

1. Wash your fucking hands, and other hand health.

How many times do they need to tell you to wash your hands before you take regular, albeit inconvenient, trips to a sink to wash your hands for a minimum of 20 seconds? Hand sanitizer is great if you managed to get your hands on a bottle, but even the CDC recommends it only as a secondary option when handwashing is not available (SOURCE). Quit your whining and excuses and claims that your hands are clean when they probably aren’t and just do it. Someone out there will thank you.

Also, your phone. If you aspire to common social conventions, then you carry your phone literally everywhere you go, very often in your hands. If you wash your hands and then immediately handle your phone, then you basically didn’t wash your hands because you are just grabbing all the germs you just washed off and, as a treat, you’re holding it up against your face. Wipe it down as often as you can and strongly consider giving your phone case a full bath every night. If you use a case constructed of a material that cannot be easily washed with soap and water or disinfectant, such as leather, then consider a temporary switch to a smooth plastic case that can easily be wiped down and handle the abuse of being taken on and off frequently. Take similar precautions with household surfaces that are frequently touched. 

Also… lotion. When you wash your hands as often as you should, they are going to get really dry and really cracked. For readers, this comes out especially hard when we then handle the dry pages of paper in our favorite books. Cracks and splits on our hands create a whole different health concern, such as skin infections, so be sure to apply a good lotion to your hands regularly after washing.

2. If there was ever a time for ebooks, it’s probably now.

Yes, we are aware that a good number of people do not like them, do not want to like them, and therefore refuse to join the ebook movement. I get it, I do, but here is the thing… where are you getting your books?

If you are running off to the bookstore or library, not only are you placing yourself and your collection of germs in the line of fire of others with their collection of germs, but you are also going to be collecting germs and passing germs to books as you browse the shelves. COVID-19 is believed to remain viable on a surface for hours to days, though it is unclear at the time of writing how well it transmits through objects and surfaces (SOURCE). It is damn near impossible to really clean a book since most cleaning options are wet and books are paper, which is a most unideal combination.

Now, if you take this opportunity to familiarize yourself with ebook options, you are avoiding this germ-party. Ebooks can be read on smartphones, tablets, and computers, so you are not required to purchase an ebook device like a Kindle or Nook for just a couple of weeks of quarantine. All of these devices can easily be wiped down using approved household or electronics cleaners. Most libraries offer some form of ebook lending (Libby, Hoopla, or cloudLibrary) or you can use this moment to cash in your free 30-day trial of Kindle Unlimited–have fun down that rabbit hole. 

3. If you still refuse to read ebooks, have your books delivered.

Once again, I am going to note the risks associated with being in the outside world during a pandemic situation–risks that are just as dangerous to you as they are to anybody else.

But if you truly can’t force yourself to read an ebook, I am going to ask that you still refrain from visiting a local library or bookstore to browse. Do a little research and see if you have a local bookstore that is willing to do delivery or a pick-up/take-out style interaction. Bookstores I’ve seen promoting this practice include: Belmont Books (Belmont, MA), The King’s English (Salt Lake City, UT), Main Street Books (Frostburg, MD), Bound Booksellers (Franklin, TN), Tsunami Books (Eugene, OR), Trident Booksellers & Cafe (Boston, MA), and Let’s Play Books (Emmaus, PA) just to name a few. There’s also Burley Fisher Books in Hackney, London UK which is offering local delivery, so this shit is international! If there’s one thing we know about indie bookstores, it’s that they’ll go above and beyond for their readers, even in a crisis. Go ahead and give your favorite one a call, it’s likely that they could deliver or especially likely that they’ll let you do a curbside pick up, protecting you and others from exposure to the virus. 

4. Actually read the books you have at home.

“I have read every book that I own.”

You know what, Karen? COVID-19 goes after liars first. That is a lie. I’ll see myself to my home for a full self-quarantine and then contact my primary care physician by phone or email to see what I should do BEFORE heading to their office and spreading my virus to the people in the waiting room for completely different health concerns. Oh look! Real COVID-19 advice! 

We all have that sad little pile (mountain) at home full of books we bought because they had a pretty cover or we heard something good about it from a friend in 1996 or someone lent it to us and we forgot…now is your time to tackle that pile.

5. Write. We promise you have the time now. 

If you are in the middle of a two-week quarantine as a result of exposure, caution, or closure, then you have lost the excuse of “I don’t have time.”

There is a lot you can use this extra time for and getting some progress in that book you’ve been dreaming about writing is an excellent option. Check out the rest of our blog for tips on writing or shoot us a message if you want some support in the coming weeks! 

Plus, how easy is it to be inspired to write an apocalyptic dystopia right now?

6. Fill out our March Madness Bracket!

RIP sports. 

Get your bracketology fix in by filling out our March Madness Best Books of the Decade Bracket! See our progress and make your picks:

Thank you for your patience with us this week as we join the media hysteria, and we hope you found some useful tips to make your COVID-19 experience a little bit safer. 

For additional resources regarding COVID-19, we encourage you to use reputable sources. These include the CDC, WHO, and your local departments of health. Use other sources with caution, as significant information out today is inaccurate, politicized, or sensationalized. Everyone has an agenda–votes, page views, fame, and notoriety among them. Know what those agendas are before you take their information at face value. 

Finally, before anyone leaves a comment saying that everyone is overreacting, Three Houses Press, LLC wants to publicly declare their support of the message, “If they think we overreacted, then we did our job.”

Stay safe, readers!