Monday, February 04, 2008

Going non-profit for fun

Okay, I don't imagine it's a fun process, but Shaman Drum, it's being reported, is considering going non-profit. For those not in the know, Shaman Drum is the oft-referenced indie in Ann Arbor, Michigan, which serves smart readers there including the University of Michigan student population. (Thanks, as ever, to Shelf Awareness for the link.)

I'd be curious to learn more about this process. Have other indie bookstores taken this route, and how'd it work out? The article does not shed much light on the process, only saying:
In order to become a non-profit organization, a detailed description of the organization and its activities must be filed with the Internal Revenue Service. The organization must also submit financial records with the IRS for the current tax year and the past three tax years.
This paragraph makes it seem like one needs to allow the government to monitor your finances closely and you're in, but given the tax breaks, there must be more involved.

Like the subscription service, could this be another model for keeping indies in business? As a taxpayer, I have no problem with the idea on some level, but I can appreciate that it would need to be monitored. The fact is, very few if any people are making much money off books, whether in publishing or in selling. I don't feel too concerned that someone is going to file for non-profit status and then turn around and rake in money for themselves. And most of us go on and on about bookstores being important elements in a community, as was discussed at the Winter Institute meeting last month. As someone with NO INDIE in my neighborhood - feel the anger, people - I can get behind supporting these places through tax breaks.

I feel I have become more involved in bookselling on this blog instead of book publishing, but things come around.

I'd also like to point out the handsome site of an exciting new literary agency in the Boston area: The Brattle Agency. If nothing else, just take a look at that design! (Run by a very qualified guy and good friend, admittedly.) Link going to the sidebar here, too.

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