Reading Frenzy Hits 50k Kickstarter Goal


Sweet. Tell us when she posts her next "help me pay the rent" kickstarter.
if by that you mean "let us know the next time a beloved and thriving local business loses its lease and needs help funding a move," then yeah, i will.

if you're just being a dick about reading frenzy for some reason, then i got nothing.
If they couldn't manage the money they earned (or couldnt earn enough), what makes you think they can manage the money they were given?

Businesses that don't go get loans are typically not confident enough in their own profit model to demonstrate that it's a good investment. The new model, beg for money on the Internet, with zero accountability to your investors, OFTEN leads to people squandering a lot of cash.

But Maybe they'll make it work. We'll see.
I didn't contribute to this Kickstarter. But then again I've never been inside this place.

But man alive, I can't get enough of the Dwarven Forge Kickstarter. I'm a nerd.
Reading Frenzy is a tiny independent bookstore that's managed to stay afloat for 19 years, and to have one of their best years yet in 2012. I see no reason to believe that after weathering a recession and "the death of print," they won't be able to handle a move across town.

I also find it perfectly reasonable that a business losing its longtime, affordable lease would have trouble funding a move in today's rental market. And I'm happy to help them get their footing, because I think bookstores are important and I want them to continue to exist in my city. Apparently 1,000 other people feel the same way.
My reaction to the detractors for this Kickstarter is the same as my feelings when Backspace needed to raise funds a few months ago. Backspace has hosted a number of events that I've been associated with, and because they were for arts and small press causes, they agreed to do it for free. No other venue of their size supports the creatives in Portland like Backspace does, and Reading Frenzy is the same way. They cut deals to struggling artists, and organize shows and readings for people who would otherwise not have this sort of opportunity. They could charge for this, but they don't. Is that bad business? Kind of, yeah! But it also helps to foster a creative community. And it is entirely reasonable for a store or a venue to occasionally pass the hat around among the community that they have helped.
Alison, you do know that "losing our lease" is a fancy way of saying "we can't make rent," right? I totally support Reading Frenzy. I've sold things there, and have bought things there.

Rent increased, and that sucks. But this isn't their first kickstarter. It's their 7th. And while this is only the 2nd of them that is straight up saying, "Even though we're a for-profit retail store, we aren't making a profit and need some extra donated cash." 4 out of the other 5 were for reprinting Craphound. Craphound sales, if you didn't know, were floating the store. So of course, selling more Craphound was the grand solution for not going out of business. And the only way to sell more Craphounds was to run kickstarters asking people to buy them.

Basically, alls I'm saying is that this business might not have been run very well. As we can clearly observe, they didn't have the most sustainable, diversified business model.
Rent didn't increase; my understanding is that the building owner decided to expand their lobby, eliminating the space. But thanks for explaining how words work to me. I really should consider a new line of work.

Now... lemme see if I can get the tone right: You do know that Kickstarter is a HUGE force in comics and small-press publishing these days, right? That taking pre-orders on Kickstarter is a perfectly viable publishing model? It's disingenuous to cast the store's Craphound Kickstarters as a charity bid. Those Kickstarters were launched to fund the publication of a popular magazine, which also helped bolster the store's no-doubt incredibly slim profit margins. Seems fairly sustainable to me, and as far as I can tell it has been, until they were asked to fund a move.

Also, what caustic said.
I'll make the same comment I always make for this situation: Kickstarter IS part of the market now. If businesses can make a kickstarter that persuades people to part with their dollars, more power to them. There's no rule that business should only survive or fail by walk-in money, and I don't think anyone wants a world where the banks or other large purely-proft-margin-minded investors are the only ones deciding whether small businesses on the edge either get the critical bridge financing they need from time to time, or fail and disappear.

In short: if you don't like it, don't contribute to Kickstarter or patronize the store. If enough people agree, RF will fail, and you can do a little dance for being right.

Otherwise, STFU - the market is already hard at work.
I just don't understand why consumers buy into this model. I can donate $25 and get a sticker and a pat on the back, or spend $25 and get fairly-priced merchandise.
Hank - maybe you donate the $25 because you love the store and what it has done for the community...? It's a donation. The idea is to donate money. The sticker is a thank-you for donating the money. (Also, and I think you probably know this, but when you spend $25 at a store, that store does not make $25. What they make depends on the cost of the item, the markup, etc.)

I have a hard time seeing how this is a problematic fundraiser. Lovable local entity needs help, asks community if they would like to save it. This feels like the plot of an eighties movie where the kids arrive on dirt bikes to help save the hotdog stand, because they love it so much. It's the same concept really, minus the dirt bikes. And the hotdogs.
There is some statistic about how many 'merkins are within one unexpected doctor's bill away from bankruptcy. Well, I think RF shows that there are a lot of small businesses in the same boat; one broken dishwasher or increase in lease costs away from shutting down.
If that small business has made enough of an impact on their community that they can raise $50k on KS, then kudos to them. It remains to be seen whether they can continue to make their business model work in a new spot.
I didn't give to Backspace because when I worked across the street, I stopped going there because they sucked at making money (i.e. they were assholes while selling me muffins and coffee.) Apparently others had better experiences, and they found the money they needed. If they still shut down in a few more months, that makes their benefactors suckers, but if not, the community is the better for it.