The St. Mark’s Bookshop has now officially announced what we broke news of two weeks ago — that it’s facing eviction by the New York City Housing Authority. In an email sent yesterday, co-owner Bob Contant asks followers to donate money so that the troubled shop can restock its shelves, get an interested investor to take over its lease, and fulfill the terms of a settlement with the city. So far, a crowdfunding campaign has raised just over $21,800 of the desired $150,000.
But don’t fire up that “print is dead” thought piece just yet. While things look pretty dire for the Bookshop, its East Village neighbor, Strand Book Store, is touting its best holiday season ever, and has announced that yearly traffic was up by 30,000 people.
Here are the two announcements– after you’ve read them, your choice of where to shop will probably depend on the degree to which you’re a Nietzschean. Or a Bowie fan..
From St. Mark’s Bookshop:
St. Mark’s Bookshop has been taken to court by its landlord, New York City Housing Authority, for non-payment of rent. An investor has proposed to take over our lease and pay the back rent if we can raise enough money to stock the store. He believes, as I do, that if we fill the store with books our business will increase and we’ll be able to pay our way. The landlord has already agreed to settle. It’s our challenge to raise money. We welcome any ideas anyone has to help as we move forward. We hope people share our belief that a bookstore is vital to the East Village, and want to thank everyone who has supported the campaign thus far.
Contribute if you haven’t yet or share the fundraiser here: gofundme.com/savestmarks
From Strand Bookstore:
The Strand experiences a record-breaking holiday season with 10% growth over last year with busiest day in history on December 19th and 30,000 more visitors in December 2015 than 2014.
Strand Book Store’s 88th holiday was a record-breaker for the store leading to a record-breaking year in sales for 2015 — up over 10% over 2014. Leading the way for this success, Saturday, December 19th also set a record as the Strand’s best day ever, up 10% over the same Saturday in 2014. Unsurprising, the Strand also saw 30,000 more visitors in December 2015 over December 2014.
“I’m very happy and proud. I know what we accomplished was something spectacular in the store. In fact, in the age of digital everything, we’ve turned the tide against e-books,” said Fred Bass, 87, who owns the Strand Book Store with his daughter Nancy. “We’ve become better organized and our stock is fantastic and strong. Overall, we made the store more welcoming.”
Strand’s Buying Manager Carson Moss, results were bolstered by an extremely strong year in publishing with notable top sellers in the store this holiday season:
“Customers were driven to the store in part of the strength of this year’s new titles. Numerous powerful releases felt like important contributions to an ongoing national conversation,” said Moss. “No longer satisfied with simply giving voice to the disenfranchised, these authors connected to readers in a way that shed outdated notions of cultural membership and created a larger sense of collective responsibility.”
Other items that were extremely successful for the day included Strand’s exclusive line of merchandise of tote bags, magnets, and wearables especially A Well-Read Woman is a Dangerous Creature, Lost in the Stacks, Strand’s Holiday Tote: 1938 Strand, and Roaring Readers.