Because of the current global “situation” our physical office is closed though our publishing, sales, and marketing efforts are full speed ahead in homes and apartments all around the Philadelphia region and networked through many daily video chats to each other and to our dear colleagues in our UK office. We are very much alone and together simultaneously. Our virtual office allows us to see each other in a different light working from our home office or dining room table, the kitchen counter or the comfy couch. We’re all going through this together, taking on new challenges personally and professionally as they confront us. I can’t help but think once we’re all back in the office, we will all feel a bit closer having slogged over and around these obstacles together.
We will all remember this time–where we were and who was with us. The full story is yet to be revealed, and it seems there are many chapters left before the end of it. I think back on the time in my life as a cadet at West Point where I banded together with my classmates to “survive” plebe year. I did not continue on with a distinguished military career where now some of my classmates are 2- and 3-star generals, but we all still feel connected and close having gone through many challenges together. I believe this shared experience will bond our publishing team together in the years to come. For a better example of what I’m trying to say, one of our esteemed authors Colonel Keith Nightingale’s piece which posted this week in Task & Purpose titled We Are All in Combat Now does a much better job explaining.
“Situation” is such an understated word for describing the current set of dire circumstances–a bit too like Hemingway’s sparse prose. Perhaps I should borrow from Lemony Snicket and call it A Series of Unfortunate Events. At least that phrase is better than Robin Cook’s Outbreak. It’s been a difficult process selecting what exactly to call our new normal. No one wants to sound too apocalyptic for fear it will manifest. We’re all trying to stay optimistic and joke with each other about virtual happy hours drinking quarantinis but everyone knows the situation is gravely serious and each day brings new challenges for our business and for our lives and those of our friends and families. Then, while you might have realized it was inevitably going to reach out and touch you, it is still a shock followed by sadness. You get news that the mother of one of your West Point classmate died yesterday from COVID 19 and the gravity and reality of the situation rachet up another notch. My thoughts and prayers are with David Bennett and his family.
While we are happy to be designated as an essential business by the governor of Pennsylvania, we felt it was the right thing to do for our staff to practice social distancing at this time. Given that Casemate leases the first floor of its headquarters to a company that provides mobile nurses to the sick and the elderly, we also felt it was best to let them have access to the office so their good work continues.
We do hope the duration of these unfortunate events is short as our office has an open floor plan and we miss the daily interactions with each other that can’t quite occur over a video chat. Still we are realistic about the fact that we have no control over how these circumstances progress.
What we can do and can control and can change we are working hard to facilitate–meaning we are still here and offering our books to the public, to bookstores, and to libraries as best we can. Our warehouse is still operational, and orders placed through our website or by calling in to our customer service team are still being processed. We’re in contact with online retailers and distributors, constantly monitoring the news and publishing industry sites for updates. Our sales team is checking in with stores and booksellers all over the country while planning for the future.
As a lover of books and reading, first comic books then fantasy to now just about everything, I’m doing my best to make a little lemonade out of the lemons and get caught up on a few books I’ve been wanting to read but I just had not been able to get to. I’ve found myself using my Kindle a lot more over the past month too. Realizing this e-reading habit is increasing for many of us, Casemate is giving a big push to get all of our ebooks and those of our clients readily available for you.
With the ability to get digital books uploaded quickly rather than shipped and with their pricing typically significantly lower than printed books, it’s a good way to stay safe and stay at home while reading for enjoyment, to learn something new, or to plan a trip for the future. I imagine we will all want to try new things and take some adventures once the tough times have passed.
If you are a subscriber to our newsletters, then you have recently received an offer for ebooks, and I hope you have found something of interest. If you do not yet receive our newsletter, you can sign up and get a discount plus receive a weekly email featuring special offers and information about new releases.
During this perilous and uncertain time, I hope that you and your family are safe and healthy, and I extend everyone at Casemate’s best wishes to you.
Samuel M Caggiula
Director of Marketing & Publicity