Book Culture’s Survival Plan

Supporters of Book Culture, hope is still alive. In an email and Facebook post sent out to subscribers on July 8th, owner Chris Doeblin followed up on his previous open letter, which asked customers for help in order to stay open.

Book Culture’s Financial Struggles

Book Culture, neighborhood favorite and staple of the Upper West Side, was reportedly in danger of closing all of their stores without serious help from the city. In Doeblin’s original note, he wrote that Book Culture’s “four stores are in danger of closing soon”, and need “financial assistance or investment on an interim basis to help us find our footing”.

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The struggle of independent bookstores is a sad and familiar story in the city. This follows the near closing and joyous recovery of Westsider Books, another neighborhood gem.

Despite the fact that “business has been good” for Book Culture, and an acknowledgement of customers support and appreciation, the outlook initially looked bleak. Now, an update may indicate some respite for book-lovers in Manhattan.

A Plan Moving Forward

Doeblin’s “goal remains the same”, he wrote to the public. Book Culture will need to “gain access to loans or a line of credit totaling $750,000”, which Doeblin says they will repay. In order to access these loans, Book Culture has created the means for  supporters to directly assist through a community lending program. With access to proper financing, Book Culture “will be profitable again”.

Further,  the company has landed on a new initiative, inviting customers to become community lenders. Locals with the financial capability to lend directly to Book Culture may provide a minimum loan amount of $5,000. Book Culture will repay the loan over time with 4% interest.

According to Doeblin, this will allow Book Culture to”borrow and repay”, and to contract directly with its supporters. Additionally,  it provides an opportunity to invest in the community.

There are no fees. So all funds can be repaid and are used directly for the purpose of working capital for Book Culture.

Every lender will enjoy “Sustaining Member” privileges and discounts, and there will be  “a simple signed Loan Agreement between the lender and Book Culture.” Doeblin asks, “if you have the means to make a loan to Book Culture, please write directly to us at lenders@bookculture.com or chris@bookculture.com and a sample loan agreement can be provided that will indicate the terms. Or visit this page to make a loan.

Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer issued a statement in support of Book Culture. “Independent stores like Book Culture should get more support from the government. My husband and I are regulars at our local Book Culture, and to see it close would be devastating for the communities they serve.”

To read Doeblin’s complete update on Book Culture, and for more information on the community lending program, click here.

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Hannah Rosenfield

Hannah Rosenfield

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Hannah Rosenfield is an avid writer and new resident of the Upper West Side. She graduated from Binghamton University in May of 2018, after studying Creative Writing and works in advertising. In her free time, Hannah loves reading the New York Times food section, petting all the dogs on the Upper West Side, and strolling through Central Park.

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Hannah Rosenfield

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