Support the Last Independent Technical Bookseller

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Dear friends of DigitalGuru,

For over 26 years we have been an independent, minority family owned-and-operated business in the Bay Area.  We specialize in sales of technical books and have worked with IT conferences of varying scale—ranging from small academic events to large IT conferences, and even very large trade shows for television broadcasting—providing specially curated pop-up bookstore/giftstore for attendees of these events. 

You may have seen our event stores at these industry events: Adobe MAX, Microsoft Ignite, Microsoft Build, VMworld, IBM Think, NAB, RSA, nVidia GTC, Dreamforce, ISC2 Congress, Google NEXT, Oracle World, JavaOne and many other conferences and shows — sadly, coronavirus has indefinitely upended our small operation.   

My name is Rupin Kotecha, and with my brother Rupesh, we opened DigitalGuru in 1994. We began as a one-off bookstore for a local conference—and for 23 years had a great run of a small, independent, brick-and-mortar bookstore in Sunnyvale, CA.  Myself along my wife Chandrika, have been managing this company full-time with along with the Martinez family, who have been with us since our beginning. Our team is small, honest, dedicated and extremely hardworking.  

In 2017, we had to close the doors of our physical bookstore, as local profits were drained by the unrestrained monopoly of large corporations, namely Amazon, with whom competition became a liability. 

We adapted our business to the times, focusing on our core strength and original model: managing idiosyncratic, tailored bookstores for academic and technical conferences in the United States, and occasionally abroad.  The event pop-up stores have been our bread and butter and also an incredible service to attendees of these conferences.

Due to the public health crisis related to COVID-19, we are in a moment of extreme crisis.  Every planned event for 2020, and now 2021, have officially been cancelled or postponed indefinitely.  In May 2020, without any choice in the matter, we laid off our staff of five.  At this point, myself and my wife, Chandrika are working without payroll. 

Our current operation is very modest. We have a very small office, and a warehouse in Pleasanton, CA from which we ship and house our inventory.  Without sales at these in-person events , our cash reserves are quickly dwindling, with rents and other bills coming due and no hope of resuming our operations in the foreseeable future at least until the vaccines have been widely administered.

We were grateful for the minimal support given to small businesses like us by the government, but without any further aid for businesses like ours, DigitalGuru will not be able to survive this pandemic.  We have desperately been trying to keep this family owned & operated business alive, however the prospect of public events like conferences and expos resuming anytime soon is grim. 

Our goal is to raise $120,000 to be able to sustain our current operations for at least a few months until the events & conferences resume.

As the owner of DigitalGuru, I’ve setup this GoFundMe page to request my local, and larger communities, friends, publishing industry partners, authors, conference owners and social networks for financial contributions that will help our small business keep its warehouse, help us restaff our small business so that we can continue to work as a distributor in these otherwise impossible times. 

We are a small South Asian family hoping to survive our decades of hard work this pandemic. It is our only source of income.  We must humbly ask for your support. We know what a difficult and uncertain time this is for everyone, and we understand that there are many individuals and organizations in need. If you’re in a position to support us we’ll be extremely grateful to receive that help, and any donation to this campaign will contribute to the cash resources we need to address the immediate future and to take care of our staff.   And if you could let others know about this campaign, we’ll appreciate that immensely, too.

We assure you that every penny will go towards sustaining the business operations and support those who run DigitalGuru. We will forever be extremely grateful for all the contributions and support.  

Thanks for reading. Be well. Be safe.

Rupin Kotecha
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Rupin Kotecha
Pleasanton, CA

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