Capitol Hill Books in Washington, D.C. Will Allow Guests to Have the Whole Store to Themselves for an Hour

zozzzzo, iStock via Getty Image
zozzzzo, iStock via Getty Image / zozzzzo, iStock via Getty Image
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As the coronavirus outbreak spreads, people around the country are learning to adjust their daily lives. For readers, that means avoiding public spaces like libraries and bookstores and depending on e-books, delivery services, and their home book collections for their literary needs. One used bookstore in Washington, D.C., has responded to calls for social distancing by presenting a unique opportunity to customers. After reserving a time slot with Capitol Hill Books, guests can have the entire store and its contents to themselves for one hour.

The offer to live out every book lover's dream came after businesses around the U.S. closed over the weekend in an effort to prevent the spread of coronavirus. The morning of Monday, March 16, Capitol Hill Books announced it was limiting visits to an appointment-only basis, with a maximum of four guests allowed to enter the shop at a time. If you'd prefer to browse books in total isolation, you can also sign up for a one-hour time slot to get free, exclusive access to the bookstore.

Special guests are invited to "Roam the stacks and find something good to take home," Capitol Hill Books co-owner Kyle Burk tells Mental Floss. "I imagine they will also take selfies and throw them up on Insta ... which we will begrudgingly allow."

In addition to controlling how many people are allowed in the space at the same time, Capitol Hill Books is taking extra steps to keep the store sanitary. Upon entering, guests will be met with gloves and hand sanitizer. The business has also adopted a more extensive cleaning regimen.

To reserve an hour to social distance with some books, email You can also support independent bookstores like Capitol Hill without leaving home. Instead of ordering enough books to weather a quarantine from a major retailer, find a small bookstore that does online delivery. Capitol Hill Books is currently waiving shipping fees to anywhere in the U.S. on orders from its rare books website.