Here’s an interesting story, care of Publishers Weekly. In the town where one of my brothers lives, St. Charles, Missouri, well-known bookshop Main Street Books will close at the end of the month if it cannot find a buyer. Small-press-published novelist and book blogger Brandi Schmidt is attempting to raise $15,000 by February 5 via an Indiegogo campaign in order to buy it and save it from shutting down.
If she does buy it, Schmidt’s plans include adding a coffee shop to the bookstore, holding more author signings and events, and holding Skype conferences with authors who can’t attend personally. Schmidt has never actually run a bookstore herself, but has always wanted to. As she says on the Indiegogo page, “To write AND own a bookstore…oh my gosh…that’s like heaven on earth!”
It’s by no means a sure thing that Schmidt will be able to buy it even if she raises the money. The bookshop’s owner, Vicki Erwin, is still looking offers from other buyers, some of whom are farther along than Schmidt. Schmidt notes she will return the funding if the sale falls through.
So far, the campaign has raised $1,505 of its $15,000 goal, with 29 days remaining. Unlike Kickstarters, the campaign will receive all donated funds even if it does not reach its goal.
I was only able to find one book by Schmidt on Amazon or Goodreads, which appears to be a paranormal romance set in St. Louis. Her blog at brandischmidt.com only has one entry, directing people to “The Lit Ladies” blog, where the site’s six bloggers go by cutesy handles like “Spirit Lady” or “Sandwich Lady” so it’s not clear which one is Schmidt.
In any event, it’s interesting to see one of the new wave of self- or indie-publishing authors seeking to buy a bookstore, touchstone of the old publishing establishment. If she is successful, will her plans draw in enough business to keep it afloat? Perhaps. The PW article notes the store was going to close because its owner wanted to retire, not because it was necessarily being driven out of business. And as noted, it might be premature anyway if someone else buys it instead.
Still, best of luck to Brandi Schmidt! I wouldn’t exactly mind owning a bookstore myself.
Correction: I previously identified Schmidt as self-published, as Publishers Weekly did. However, she actually does have a small press publisher, Muse It Up Publishing.