Tuesday, August 12, 2008

with great thanks to Collin Kelley and Dustin Brookshire(Links to their Blogs, to the right of this column) for giving this the attention it deserves! Please consider sending a few dollars, or better yet--sending a few dollars AND stopping in to buy a book or two!
See the letter from the owner of Decatur, Georgia's Wordsmiths' Books, below:

We need your help to save our bookstore.
Beginning today, August 4th, and leading through a weekend fundraising event August 15th-August 17th, I am opening myself to your assistance. It doesn't matter how small your contribution is--with enough help it will all add up in the end. If you want to offer $25, $50, $100, $200, anything at all, it can help. My greatest hope is to not only save our bookstore now, but to offer in return for your help some sense of benefit when we are once again stabilized.The fact is that Wordsmiths Books is, as an idea and in execution, a great bookstore and it can be so much more given the chance. We are not fighting declining sales, nor are we fighting customer apathy, or even a lagging book market. We are fighting only the debt created by starting in the wrong location. Despite the depths of our need, despite the fact that it leaves me no alternative but to seek your help, we still see the opportunity that lies before us here, on the Square and in the welcoming home of Decatur. We wish to have the opportunity to survive here, to grow and continue to bring to you the same level of entertainment and literary merit that you have come to expect from us. We just need help to get there. We need your help to survive today.
If you are willing to help, you can call the store at (404) 378-7166, you can stop by or you can visit http://www.wordsmithsbooks.com/
and click on the Donation button on our home page.
If you prefer to utilize the mail, then our address is:
545 N. McDonough Street,
Decatur, Georgia 30030.
There are questions that you have, I am sure. Please ask them. Email me at zach@wordsmithsbook.com , call the store (404-378-7166) or stop by. I am not averse to discussing the matter on any level to anybody. Simply put, we--the entire Wordsmiths Books family--are at your mercy. I will be blogging daily (or as close to daily as is possible) with updates and further information. Again, no amount is too small. We want nothing more than the opportunity to continue to be the bookstore we have been all along. Your help is greatly appreciated and will not be forgotten.
Thank you,
Zachary Steele, Owner/Operator Wordsmiths Books
Peace, kids. In this case, making Peace means providing a bit of Social Justice(redistribution of wealth!).


Brrrooom! said...

As you know, I am pretty familiar with the book business (having been Borders Books Region 9 marketing director in the past) - when I first saw the Wordsmith location in their old Post Office location my first thought was "wow, what a great space" followed by "but it's way too big, it makes their stacks look kind of meager" and finally "the owner is either very rich or very crazy to be here." My view is that if a for-profit business needs "saving" then, even if some donations roll in, it will ultimately be terminally mismanaged ANYWAY. I love that the owner wants to support Decatur's not-insubstantial literary "scene", but maybe he should think of doing so AS a non-profit. Decatur HS and the library there both can offer suitable venues for literary events.

The market should run its course.


Lisa Allender said...

Hi there, brrrooom. It's a valid point to discuss the market and stability. I would encourage you to read the answers that Zach Steele, the owner, has posted in response to statements like yours, at their Wordsmiths' Blog.
Certainly "free enterprise" can work, but sometimes, it takes a bit of ingenuity to stay on top, given the competition out there. Wordsmiths' is holding huge fundraisers all weekend, in the form of poetry, spoken-word and music events. Donations towards those events will help!
In the meantime, I'm not certain the lovely spaces you mention would work for literary events, as often, there are "restrictions" on what can be read, or discussed. Thankfully, when I visited Wordsmiths' during Fourth-of-July and the PRIDE events, I saw no such censorship, and enjoyed the freedom of expression evidenced by many diverse voices, including a visiting transgendered man-to-woman, Aoki, from L.A.(Her monologue was hilarious, and very touching, as well).
Stop in at Wordsmiths this weekend--you may find yourself dropping a few dollars in their hands.

Brrrooom! said...

I'm fully aware of Zach's points (I receive the Wordsmith newsletter, and heard his comments on NPR) and while I do sympathize - and, living as I do within walking distance of downtown Decatur, selfishly desire the bookstore's continued existence - in the end it's good business practice, not charity, that keeps a business in business!

Lisa Allender said...

To brrrooom, I suppose you are focused on purely the market-economics. If so, there's little else I can say. However, literary and intellectual pursuits, and support of a diverse community is what Wordsmiths' is about, and if you truly enjoy the bookstore(you say you do!), I would urge you to find a way to support it, by purchasing books, and yes--donating!
It's good karma. Peace, man.

Don't Feed The Pixies said...

Hi Lisa

Thanks for visiting my blog - i wish you luck with saving your bookstore. The small bookstores and shops are under serious threat from the Evil Corporates (so to speak) and i think their only hope is to diversify - offer something that the Tescos and Borders of this world can't (IE books that aren't in the top ten)

We have a village in the UK called Hatton where there are more 2nd hand book shops per square mile than anything else - every year they have a festival.

raccoonlover1963 said...

Hi Lisa. I just wanted to stop by and say thank you for visiting my blog. I'm sorry to hear that your book store is in trouble. I hope you are able to get the funds you need to get back on track.

Anonymous said...

I hope they save it. I hope they save it. I can relate so much. One of my beloved bookstores in Sydney closed down last year, swallowed up by Borders. I still get choked up when I walk past the place it used to be. Big business is a pox on humanity. Good luck with the campaign.

Lisa Allender said...

Hi there to Don't Feed The Pixies:
I quite agree that "indie" bookstores like Decatur's "Wordsmiths' Books" need to be very niche-specific. In their case, they are located in an area where a large number of folks care about poetry, theatre and the like! Perhaps an expanded "theatre/drama" section could help!
And Hi to Lisa/Raccoonlover1963:
Thanks for the encouragement. I shop at several little local bookstores, but Wordsmiths' Books in Decatur is just amazing! I hope the fundraisers this weekend help it pull through!
And to Selma: Hearing that Border's(from you and Don't Feed The Pixies) is so aggressive is disappointing; over here in US, Barnes & Noble is the monolith, with Border's affecting a spirit of a smaller bookstore, but I guess "corporate is corporate". Sigh.