By Edward Nawotka -- Publishers Weekly, 8/5/2008 7:17:00 AM
Wordsmiths Books of Decatur, Ga., which opened in June 2007, has launched a “Save Our Bookstore” campaign to pay off debt. “Our rent and expenses in our initial location were higher than expected,” said owner Zachary Steele, “and we need to raise fifteen, twenty, twenty five thousand dollars, to begin paying off creditors.”
In March, Wordsmiths moved from what Steele calls “an off-the-beaten path” location to a space on the town’s main square where business has been much better. “As I said on our blog: We are not fighting declining sales, nor are we fighting customer apathy, or even a lagging book market,” Steele reiterated. “We are fighting only the debt created by starting in the wrong location and we want a chance to get back on our feet.” Steele also blames part of the store’s debt on “a recent big-name author event requiring a massive up-front investment that didn’t pan out.” He declined to reveal details.
On Monday, Steele sent out an e-mail asking well wishers to donate money through the store’s Web site. In addition, he launched a “Friends of Wordsmiths” loyalty program, offering discounts and other benefits, with tiers ranging from $10 to $500. Fundraising is expected to last through mid month and efforts should conclude with a fundraising event featuring notable authors and musicians, yet to be determined, on the weekend of August 15-17. “I want people to know that I’ve done everything possible before putting my hand out, which is something I didn’t want to do,” said Steele.