Borderlands Books Finds a Way to Survive
Independent bookstores are a dying breed these days. In the face of crippling competition like Amazon and other remaining chain stores, many of these establishments have reluctantly closed up shop. One of them, however, is putting up quite the fight. How, you might ask? Memberships, of course!
According to an article posted in The Guardian, after facing many challenges, the sci-fi focused bookstore had finally decided to close its doors for good. While on the brink of inevitable demise, an innovative idea was suggested: crowdfunding “sponsorships.” The owners took to the internet, announcing their decision in the hopes that they could keep serving loyal readers just a little bit longer.
“Starting immediately we will be offering paid sponsorships of the store,” owners stated in a release on their website. “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.”
The owners went on to say that they’d repeat the process in the future, and if they obtained enough sponsors each time around, they would continue to keep Borderlands up and running.
Within two days, the struggling bookstore reached its goal. 300 people had pledged $100 sponsorships each. Upon seeing the generosity of her customers, a humbled Jude Feldman (Borderlands employee) wrote: “Since we came to the conclusion that we would not be able to keep the bookstore open last November, I have been through all the stages of grief, and I had finally hit acceptance. And then, just three days ago, we thought that maybe, just maybe, if the stars were right and crazy miracles occurred, we might not have to close.”
Feldman went on to thank all those who donated to the cause. Along the journey to stay in business, Borderlands has been supported by many well-known fans, such as Cory Doctorow and Margaret Atwood. And in the act, they may have also paved the way for other small bookstores just like it.
What do you think this innovative idea may mean for the future of independent bookstores?
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