Saturday, September 14, 2013

Crowdfunding the Book Frog

We--Pete and Becky--have been in the book business for a combined total of...well, let's just say it's more than thirty years and less than fifty. For most of that time we worked as general managers for a once beloved but now defunct superstore chain (we stayed until the bitter end, long after the joy and fun had died). 

When the superstore finally breathed its last we decided to--gulp--open our own bookstore. We were woefully underfunded--coming in at about a third of what we really needed to put it together properly--and hilariously uneducated about the difference between being owners and managers, but we did do one clever thing: we  took advantage of the liquidation of our beloved stores and obtained fixturing and inventory at rock bottom prices. Since then, every penny we've made has been poured back into inventory for the store, and in the nearly two years since opening the doors we've more than doubled it.

But now we're facing a challenge on multiple fronts, and we need help reaching the next plateau. What is the next plateau? you might ask. We need to create a store which is a true destination, one which people will happily make a special trip to get to. And in order to be that place, we need to have what people are looking for. But we have a challenge--as if the dearth of funds isn't enough--to becoming a destination store. The mall in which our store is located is losing retail business at an alarming rate; so fast, in fact, that they're lobbying to fill empty retail spaces with offices. In theory, this sounds like it might be a nice coexistence, but in reality what brings retail traffic into malls is retail stores. But we know that with the right mix of inventory--having on hand most of the books that people want and a healthy selection of books for them to discover, and having great bookish gifts and sidelines such as booklights, cards, and journals--we will be a destination in our own right and won't have to worry about the foot traffic that the mall might bring in. 

Would you like to help? You can do so, of course, by donating here. But you can also help us tremendously by spreading the word. Share our link on Facebook, on Twitter, on Google Plus. Email our link to your friends, family, coworkers, professors, classmates...pretty much anyone you can think of. And hey--when you do share, could you be sure to tell everybody why it's so important to have independent bookstores? And why, even if they don't live in the community in which our store is located, it's still in everyone's best interest to have as many bookstores around the country as possible. John Green says about paying taxes for public education: need to remember that school is not about you. Schools do not exist for the benefit of you or the benefit of your parents; schools exist for the benefit of me. The reason I pay taxes for schools even though I don't have a kid in school is that I am better off in a well-educated world...
We kind of feel the same way about independent bookstores: we're all better off in a world with as many indies as possible.

Thanks for helping us to get the word out. Keep on reading!

No comments: