Independent bookstores have jumped on the crowdfunding bandwagon. In an effort to stay solvent amid competition from Amazon and Barnes & Noble, shops like Books of Wonder in Manhattan have used Kickstarter, Indiegogo, and other sites to elicit donations from longtime customers. Daniel Goldin, who owns a bookstore in Milwaukee, told The New York Times, "a lot of customers position us in their head like the nonprofits they support, like a humane society or a park.”
It's not a bad plan — for now, at least. While Kickstarter donations won't allow independent shops to provide Amazon's low prices or Barnes & Noble's wide selection or physical space, they have kept neighborhood stores in neighborhoods. For example, Books of Wonder raised $50,000 through Indiegogo last year, which was enough to pay outstanding bills and stay in the building. Bookstores in San Francisco, Asheville, N.C., and Chico, Calif., have been successful with similar campaigns.
Oren Teicher, the chief executive of the American Booksellers Association, told The Times that seeking donations from bookstore customers is an example “of how a combination of technology and localism is helping stores get funded that 20 years ago would have been impossible to do.”
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.