Thursday, March 10, 2011

Always better to cooperate?

I was intrigued last week when I read in Shelf Awareness that Buffalo Street Books in Ithaca, NY, is going co-op. Explains the "present owner," Gary Weissbrot,

Four days after sending out my farewell closing letter, Bob Proehl put out a well considered and passionate proposal asking our community if they would consider creating a community-owned cooperative bookstore, and if so, to make a non-binding monetary pledge.

It’s now two weeks later and the proposed financial target has been reached!

In fact, they raised $50,000 more than they requested. Exciting stuff. I suppose this is in some ways similar to the model at the Brazos Bookstore in Houston, TX, which I've talked about before.

This also made me think of efforts in the Boston area to start up a bookstore, first in Davis Square up in Somerville (I talked about it here but there must be an update??). I'm hoping something similar develops in my own neighborhood of the South End, after the South End News published this op-ed by Billy Palumbo about the need for a bookstore here - a point with which I heartily agree.

Do these campaigns work? As Borders stores close nationwide, some communities are crying out for bookstores. Can we come up with a new model, something between a library (non-profit) and a bookstore (things for sale, revenue-generating) that is sustainable and answers these calls?

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Sociable