How would you like to save an indie SF bookstore from extinction?
Alan Beatts caused much dismay when he announced earlier this month that San Francisco-based Borderlands Books would be closing its doors in March. The city is due to raise the minimum wage later this year, and this niche bookstore simply can't continue to operate with the higher costs or reduced staff.
Not without your help, at least.
After discussing a number of options and concluding they were unworkable, Beatts announced on the Borderlands store blog last night that he was going to try the one solution which he liked the least: ask for hand outs.
Starting immediately we will be offering paid sponsorships of the store. Each sponsorship will cost $100 for the year and will need to be renewed every year. If we get 300 sponsors before March 31st, we will stay open for the remainder of 2015.
Our goal is to gather enough paid sponsors to cover the projected short-fall in income that will be the result of the minimum wage increase in San Francisco. At the beginning of next year we will again solicit sponsors. If next year we again reach our goal by March 31st, we will remain open through 2016. This process will continue each year until we close, either because of a lack of sponsorship or for other reasons.
In addition to the warm and fuzzy feeling they get for saving a bookstore, sponsors will also receive a number of benefits, including apparel, books, and other stuff which won't be sold to the general public, as well as other benefits (see the blog post for more detail).
If you'd like to become a sponsor, you can drop by and pay in person, or mail a check, or call 415 824-8203 or toll-free at 888 893-4008 between noon and eight (their business hours). The mailing address is:
Borderlands Books, Sponsorships
866 Valencia St.
SF, CA 94110
Much to my frustration, there's no option for Paypal, KS, Patreon, or some other online platform. I have trouble trouble being understood on the phone, so I guess I'll be sending a check (along with my phone number, email address, and mailing address).
Beatts had previously said that he would not consider asking for hand outs because he didn't think it was a sustainable model, and that he "didn't think that it was right for a for-profit business to ask for a hand-out to continue operating". But even though he wasn't comfortable with the idea, he floated it last night on the store's blog.
It's been 12 hours since the blog post went up, and I would bet that Borderlands Books has already hit its funding goal for the year.
But I will have to check back later (after the store opens in 5 hours) to confirm that detail. That will of course be by email; I don't want to get in the way of the fundraising.
Update: The store made its goal by 2:30PM on Friday. Considering that the donations had to be made by phone on only two lines, that is impressive.
image by False Positives