Save a bookstore?

Hi, all–

Heard through the grapevine that the fab True Colors Bookstore in south Minneapolis is looking for some help. That is, a benefactor or new owner. The current owner is willing to make it a turnkey operation and will stay on to help train people on the new software system and whatever else she needs to do.

Here’s the quote, from the site above:

Bookstore seeks new owner or angel investor or benefactor.

True Colors Bookstore in South Minneapolis is the original Amazon Feminist Bookstore, founded over 40 years ago. In the last three years we have built up a reputation for children’s books and spirituality selections as well as a broad stock of LGBT titles and great greeting cards. Business includes about $80,000 in inventory as well as all fixtures and office equipment. New POS / inventory system installed in March 2010, running on new computer. Turnkey operation. Current owner willing to stay on for training purposes. Current lease expires end of February 2012 so new owner would have option of relocating. Serious inquiries only, please, to ruta AT truecolorsbookstore DOT com [email address spelled out to minimize spambotting]

Here’s the thing about feminist and/or LGBT bookstores. They’re about more than books. Much, much more. I blogged about that HERE, with regard to Lambda Rising closing. Bookstores like True Colors are meeting places and community gathering places, but also safe spaces for those in who are LGBT, whether out, freaking out about being out, or trying to figure things out. They’re places where authors can go to meet readers, where readers can see the men and women who write the literature that validates their existence and experience, and they can be places where book groups meet to discuss the latest in LGBT literature and fiction.

So that’s why saving places like this is important.

I know, I know. I realize that there’re all kinds of issues to think about. I’m living through this economy, too. But how about thinking about what you — YOU — could do with a business like this? Perhaps launch your own little ebook publishing gig, where you work with LGBT authors to create anthologies? Think of that: True Colors romance anthology! True Colors lesfic mystery noir anthology! True Colors gay fiction noir anthology! True Colors LGBT anthology! Or perhaps create online reading groups and bring ’em in for fun theme gatherings? Maybe develop a foundation affiliated with your for-profit ventures that could bring authors to your store to conduct writing workshops? Perhaps ally with the local Pride/Equality groups and work out some interesting sponsorship gigs in which Pride/Equality groups might sponsor an author for a visit/talk? (especially in Minnesota, which is currently considering a no marriage equality amendment this year). Maybe do some outreach with local GSAs and student groups at campuses — i.e. writing workshops through some authors and just flat-out exposure to the fiction and literature that graces your shelves?

Yes, I know. It’s crappy out there. But there are also opportunities to be had or, perhaps more appropriately, to be made. Minneapolis has a great music, arts, and book scene. A lot of those people in those scenes are LGBT. And given what LGBT kids are going through in some parts of the state, a resource like True Colors clearly has a place there, even in the 21st century.

So maybe think about it. Think about ownership, or partnering with True Colors or developing a foundation to help meet its expenses in exchange for book-related educational events (or something along those lines). Because resources like this, friends, are so very precious.

Happy reading and support indie bookstores when you can!


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