Tuesday, August 14, 2012

10 reasons to help St Mark's Bookshop survive

Writer-small press blogger Karen Lillis (featured here on EVG in 2009) offers 10 reasons why people should consider supporting the St Mark's Bookshop fundraiser ... as the store asks for help moving to a less-expensive space in the neighborhood.

The store's fundraising campaign at Lucky Ant wraps up this week ... and they are roughly $2,500 short of their $23,000 goal as of this morning.

A brief excerpt...

2. St. Mark's Bookshop is not just a place that sells (and curates) culture and history. St. Mark's Bookshop IS living history.

As a bookstore, St. Mark's holds an institutional memory of major moments in alternative publishing history. The owners (and some longtime employees) both worked at 8th Street Books, which was the New York bookstore the Beats frequented and the New York bookstore that embraced the "paperback revolution." Both owners worked also at East Side Books, an East Village bookstore which was known as a place to find underground comics, mimeographed novels, and local political pamphlets — at a time when these were a major currency of the cultural revolutions and the avant garde. St. Mark's opened in the late '70s, making a place for artistic expressions to live and breathe alongside new areas of inquiry we take for granted today, such as sections with labels like "Vietnam Studies" or "Lesbian and Gay Studies."

You can find the post by Lillis, a former St Mark's Bookshop employee,  here.


Anonymous said...

I want it but is it sustainable to have fudraisers like this? If they're not going to make the money they need to make, fundraising isn't going to help.

Karen Lillis said...

Anonymous, I wrote the post to debunk just this line of thinking. I believe that this is the last fundraiser. The store wants to move to a cheaper, smaller space, which is what they need to become self-sustainable. They are currently the size of a bookstore from "the boom years" of print publishing, and they want to slim down to optimum 21st century size--but they don't have the money to move. Many bookstores are doing well today, but only if they get smart and slim down.

pinhead said...

@Anonymous 7:57

No question: brick-and-mortar bookstores are challenged these days. But St. Marks aren't simply looking for donations to cover rent, they're seeking capital to let them adjust their business model. Sure, they're running a bit late, but there are plenty of examples of successful, thriving community bookstores. It's local businesses like this that fundamentally define the EV, and I hope they make it.

BTW, in return for pitching in, you get discounts and other incentives, so it's not a bad deal. (No, I'm not affiliated, just a neighbor.)

Marty Wombacher said...

I just donated and hope others do too. As previously stated by Karen and Pinhead, this would help them move to a place where the fundraising would be over and the books would continue to sell. Speaking of books, I bought two of Karen's novels ("Watch the Doors as They Close" and "The Second Elizabeth") at the last St. Mark's cash mob and I highly recommend them, great writing!

Lucky Ant said...

At Lucky Ant we would not take on a project that we think is a pure fundraiser. Our mission is to strengthen small business, not prolong its demise.

Do we know for sure if St. Mark's will make it? No, but we sat down with Terry and Bob and they seem to have a pretty level head about what it is that they need to do to make a real go at it.

Unfortunately, like starting a business, pivoting can be very expensive and the startup capital is often prohibitive. That's why many solid businesses don't make it. We hope that this campaign will give them the breathing room to get their fair shot at being one of those bookstores that make it.

-Lucky Ant Team

Anonymous said...

At Lucky Ant, do you also take a percentage of the donations?