Back in November, we reported that beloved small press emporium Reading Frenzy was losing the lease on their longtime home on SW Oak. After months of fruitless searching for a suitable new location, the bookstore closed in February with plans to launch a Kickstarter to raise funds for a move. That Kickstarter went live a few days ago, asking for $50,000 to help fund a new space.
"This is not another story about a struggling indie bookshop with declining sales," writes proprietress Chloe Eudaly. "After two decades of bookselling I can happily say that reports of the death of print (and independent bookstores) have been greatly exaggerated. Reading Frenzy has survived the advent of the Internet, the rise of big box bookstores and Amazon, the decline of independent booksellers nationwide, the invention of e-books and e-readers, massive changes in the publishing industry, and a three year recession, to have one of our best years EVER in 2012! With your help things can only get better!"
And if $50,000 seems like a lot, here's what proprietress Chloe Eudaly wants to do with the space:
Double our space — we're shooting for 1000+ sq. ft.!
Triple our inventory — can you imagine?!
Create a dedicated art exhibit space — no more craning your neck and standing on your tiptoes to see art hung over bookshelves!
Expand our hours — at least 10am-8pm, maybe later on weekends!
Increase our events programming — a bigger space means we'll be able to host a wider array of events!
The money will be spent on "build out, fixtures, equipment, inventory, misc. costs associated with relaunch, rewards production, shipping rewards, and $5000 or 10% of total raised goes to project fees," according to the project description, which adds, "NO Kickstarter funds will be used for rent, deposits, payroll, personal expenses, or debts."
Reading Frenzy has been a Portland institution for 17 years, and Eudaly has repeatedly proven herself to be a trustworthy champion of small presses, comics, and zines, despite the very real challenges of running a tiny bookstore. Remember back in 2007—during a recession—when the store was facing a tough spot and asked for help? Eudaly could not have been more frank in detailing the economic and personal reasons the store was struggling, and the store bounced back from the recession to have one of its best years ever in 2012.
Eudaly puts it bluntly in her Kickstarter plea: "If we fail to meet our minimum goal we will not receive any of the funds raised and Reading Frenzy will not reopen." Don't let that happen.