The St. Mark’s Bookshop has made it official: after nearly 40 years in business, the beloved East Village bookstore will close for good at the end of the week.
st. mark’s bookshop
If things had gone as planned, the St. Mark’s Bookshop would’ve been closed for good by now. But the store has received a stay of execution and is still holding out, selling off its books at half-price while hoping for a miracle– or at least more investors to join the two who have already stepped up. Still, with new information surfacing about the plan for a St. Mark’s redux, it’s not looking good. Asked how long he thought the store had, owner Bob Contant guessed, “We might be here until the end of the month.”
A lawyer for the struggling St. Mark’s Bookshop tells us “they’re probably not going to be around much longer, we’re talking days.” Since we last reported on the shop’s fight against eviction in the face of $62,000 in back rent, its problems have only mounted in the form of a $34,400 tax lien and a dispute with one of its biggest book distributors involving thousands more dollars in debt. Yesterday, the shop announced a “clearance sale” in a last-ditch effort to raise money before a forthcoming auction.
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.
After a hopeful move to a new location, the beleaguered St. Mark’s Bookshop is once again in danger of closing due to a dispute with its landlord. This time, it’s facing possible eviction by the New York City Housing Authority, which alleges that the beloved bookshop owes over $62,000 in rent.
Interested in owning a piece of the new St. Mark’s Bookshop? Now might just be your chance. In another call-for-help email sent out earlier today, owner Bob Contant made a public appeal for support to help fund the “rebirth of the bookstore.”
The Sellout, the latest novel by satirist Paul Beatty (The White Boy Shuffle), takes on some pretty big themes; it challenges “the sacred tenets of the United States Constitution, urban life, the civil rights movement, the father-son relationship, and the holy grail of racial equality–the black Chinese restaurant,” according to the blurb on the website for St. Mark’s Bookshop, where Beatty will read from his novel tonight. Evidently you don’t have to read much of The Sellout to be hooked; a New York Times review stated it contains “the most caustic and the most badass first 100 pages of an American novel I’ve read in at least a decade.” April 14 at 7 p.m. St. Mark’s Bookshop, 136 East Third Street (East Village).
After a spate of setbacks and slowdowns, St. Mark’s Bookshop has reopened in its new digs at 136 East Third Street. It’s the beloved book store’s fourth iteration since opening in the East Village in 1977. It had been at its previous spot off of Third Avenue since 1992.
The St. Mark’s Bookshop had hoped to open in its new digs “a few days” after its lease expired at Third Avenue on July 1. Now, after a brief delay, it has dropped an exact date.