An email went out late this morning from In Other Words announcing that the feminist non-profit bookstore needs an infusion of cash, and fast.
I spoke on the phone with IOW program director Katie Carter, who explained that the store needs to raise roughly $11,000 by the end of December if they're going to survive in the new year.
The budget crisis "just sort of just snuck up on us," Carter explained. "We had a board meeting on Monday night and we were looking at our finances, and what has been going on in the past few months and what is projected to go on in the future, and our sales have gone drastically down. One of our financial foundations is [selling] textbooks at PSU, and those numbers are down as well. So we realized that we need to raise money very quickly if we're going to stay open."
According to Carter, Portland State's Bookstore "allows [IOW] to sell books to their professors. For example, a lot of the professors in the Women's Studies department and the Sociology department buy books from In Other Words. It's one of the few universities that allows that to happen, instead of having contracts with Barnes and Noble or whatever."
Those textbooks aren't selling as well as they usually do, which means the store isn't making back enough money to pay off the wholesale distributors they buy the books from. Non-academic sales are down as well, and Carter says the store doesn't typically get a huge boost from Christmas shopping.
According to their website, IOW is the "last surviving non-profit feminist bookstore in the United States." In addition to readings, they host workshops, art shows, Spanish classes, and smutty open mic nights (see below for details). I sincerely hope they don't have to shut their doors.
To the end of keeping those doors open, volunteers are planning fundraisers early next year to help keep the store sustainable once its $11,000 goal has been reached, the first of which is scheduled for February 7th. (Details TBD, Carter says; probably something love-related.) To help them meet their immediate need, you can make a secure donation here, and keep In Other Words in mind when you're doing your Christmas shopping (they've got a refreshingly sophisticated website for such a small bookstore, with a great search function so you can order online). You can also show your support by swinging by "X-rated open mic" Dirty Queer tomorrow night at 6:30pm, and kicking down a few bucks more than the suggested donation of $1-5.