Help Save Book Culture
I've been told SideShow Rare & Remarkable Books is a magical bookstore -- an adventurous journey of lost treasure, wisdom, and discovery. I bet the same could be said for most independent bookstores across the country. Those that remain!
I believe bookstores serve two crucial purposes in our culture: first, they expose people to fresh ideas, voices, facts and feelings; second, (less obvious but possibly more important) used bookstores keep the book population alive and available to new minds.
Books are mirrors with which to better see and understand ourselves and our worlds. Unwittingly discarding our physical books seems a form of civic neglect that may have serious consequences.
Without a convenient and easily accessible bookstore to accept and welcome these older books, a significant percentage of the books presently sitting on shelves (I'd estimate anywhere from 30% to 60%) will likely be dumped, recycled or otherwise lost.
Since 1995, I have been locating and preserving publications once considered disposable: early paperbacks, pulp fiction, underground newspapers, and other forms of alternative publishing. These unwanted literary cast-offs have proven rich in cultural significance. Now, even mainstream books of the 20th century are at risk since many people believe "everything is on the internet now."
Twice in the last 6 months, SideShow has been called in to do "book rescues" -- saving two remarkable libraries from ending up in the dumpster. These libraries were filled with rare publications, books, pamphlets, broadsides and journals -- the type of printed material that provides voice to marginalized people and ideas, illuminates dark corners of history and explores esoteric thinking known to but a few.
In short, we rescued ideas and expression from extinction. We brought them all to the bookstore
to be catalogued, recommended, read, discussed, and appreciated. Now, retaining their original power, they live again.
So, to lose a dedicated bookstore that cares for the books of its community is to lose a crucial link in the chain of cultural experience -- knowledge passing
from past to future generations.
As an experienced member of the book-trade, I feel that bookstore survival can no longer rest solely in the hands of small business owners in their pitched battle with market forces. Our carefully-curated bookstores should be considered as important to our communities as our art museums.
To that end, I have decided to seek financial support for SideShow to become an impactful not-for-profit organization with the core mission: To preserve and promote "book culture."
As we have reached a tipping point with the loss of bookstores, I am moving rapidly to expand both our physical space and our services.
In addition to expanding one of Southern California's best-loved bookstore inventories, I look forward to expanding our current programming (which has thus far included exhibits and readings) to soon include:
*hosting bi-weekly author readings,
*hosting quarterly talks on the "Future of The Book," by noted writers and scholars,
*offering storytime children's book readings,
*creating Early Childhood Reading Outreach to offer in-need children and their parents books to take home to build their own libraries, "Books-to-Build-On,"
*organizing and hosting evening book group gatherings,
*hosting elementary school field-trips with dynamic presentations on "The History of The Book," and the hands-on "Make Your Own Book" activity,
*awarding Research Fellowships to the Middle-and-High-School students, giving them access to our permanent archive of out-of-print books and primary-source printed materials,
*estabishing a small scholarship fund for graduating high school students,
*providing internship opportunities at the college-level,
*building a network to distribute surplus unwanted ("orphaned") books to schools, neighborhood organizations, rest-homes and other places where they will be welcomed and embraced,
*re-printing deserving out-of-print books to make them available at lower costs,
*helping to re-open used-bookstore stores in underserved areas, cities, towns, etc.,
*building advocacy for and promoting "Book Culture" nationwide!
As of the end of May, 2018, SideShow has transitioned from a small bookstore to a significantly larger physical location that will allow us to pursue this empassioned vision of greater service to readers, books and those yet to discover the joy of a great book.
We are in our nascent stage of establishing our non-profit status so can't offer tax incentives right now; however, we will express our enormous appreciation by a variety of benefits, books and rewards, extending discounts to you, etc.
We need all the support we can get right now to successfully complete the vision for our new space:
Demo, Renovation: $5800
12 x 17 Storage Pod Purchase: $1900
Bldg. Security Deposit: $5800
Security System Update: $1100
Exterior Signage: $3000
Property/Liability Insurance: $2350
Inventory Management Software & Hardware $3300
Used P.A. System - Donation
Chairs - Donation
Furniture - Donation
Childrens' Storytime Program Annual: $600
Early Childhood Books-to-Build-On Program: $21,000
Elementary Schools Program Annual: $1860
Middle School Fellowship Program Annual: $2200
High School Fellowship Program Annual: $2500
Internship Lunch Program Annual: $800
College Scholarship Program Annual: $2500
Orphaned Books Placement Program: $8400
Total Target $65,968
All rent, utilities, salaries and other expenses ($137,000) will be covered by our usual daily instore and online book sales.
To our remarkable friends and customers, a great thank you for all your support, and to all who have yet to visit and experience SideShow, we welcome you to come in and find your treasures!
This is the start of something big and wonderful.
Please contribute and help us make a better world.
Check out our great customers (and the very nice things they've said)!
A Visit to SideShow Rare and Remarkable Books, Art & Curiosities
Here's an early report on SideShow's beginnings.
Another journey down the bookstore rabbit hole!
Its been sixteen months since I put forth SideShow’s initiative to become a vital organization for the preservation and promotion of Book Culture in Los Angeles. Today, I am feeling quietly joyful, grateful and wildly optimistic. As mentioned, the first phase was our long, laborious (very) physical move into our new larger space. Took awhile but we did it! Then, our maiden voyage of city-wide engagement — a full summer season of community-oriented events and activities — is complete. The many, recent happenings have been personally rewarding for all those people involved.
Some highlights have been the establishment of our Sunday Evening Poetry Reading series, the now weekly “Collage College” workshops, our weekly film series on the back patio, the start of a number of neighborhood groups: book groups, political groups, mens’ groups and more.
My favorite moment among these many benchmarks-met has been last week’s visit from local middle-and-high-school students participating in the inaugural SideShow Fellowship Program. This program gives select students access to our rare materials archives, exposing and engaging them in a world of books and printed materials guaranteed to spark interest in young minds.
A lot of the original vision proposed in my opening "pitch" above has become reality. Everyone involved should be proud of the progress we have made.
Today, the time has come to develop the more impactful, hopefully-permanent foundation at the heart of that pitch, a place to be called The Center for The Book, the soon-to-be non-profit organization which many of you have generously supported.
The bookstore, SideShow Rare and Remarkable Books, Art and Curiosities, will become the host site of The Center for The Book’s cultural offerings, readings, workshops, educational outreach and literacy services. It will be a locus of connection for the community as well as a bookstore with an extremely deep inventory (some 100,000 books, magazines, classic, offbeat, fascinating and out-of-print titles) and an enthusiastic staff of book docents to guide the curious in their book-hunts through the collection.
The previous 16 months of hard work have concretely yielded great results., However, the efforts have all but exhausted those resources from which that hard work came. The physical and financial strain has been pitched and constant. Monthly rent and utilities have been the most difficult to manage. And often my request for donations at our many events goes unanswered.
As the goal of this endeavor is to preserve and promote book culture, (not to make big profits in the store), financial support from the public is counted on as a significant part of the project’s overall growth.
If you refer to the initial budget above, you'll note that we are only 10% towards our goals. Please help us grow and serve. There are so many new things we would like to do to further appreciation and engagement with books and bookstores.
Help us grow!
A disturbing image, which shows the reality of books being thrown out, disappearing our communities.
Now more than ever, its time to strategize on how to keep the book population thriving and local bookstores an important part of the cultural public life of communities.
As we all know, the bookstores are struggling and failing. I feel the solution is not more coffee bars and events (though those are both wonderful things), but simply the recognition that bookstores need public (and private) support to continue to exist.
Once again, let's give this some thought.
Save Book Culture for the next generations and forever.
Its finally here. I’m sitting in a light, airy bookstore, laid out in curious and provocative manner in the heart of a busy new neighborhood. Sunlight pours in from the skylights, and all doors are open, allowing you to walk through the brick-enclosed side-alley to the back patio where you can sit and read, or attend a workshop/class, hear a reading or what is my favorite, watch a film screening alfresco when it gets dark.
As mentioned, its been a long, heavy lift, but thanks to all you guys who pitched in and helped, it has become a reality. Now the real work can begin.
The mission: To Preserve and Promote Book Culture.
We’ve got a community awakening to the possibilities, and wanting to be involved in books, writing, art, and sharing wisdom. This past week we launched our first film series (which was well-attended), and hosted an author evening alongside with a Summer Celebration & Opening event, replete with a wonderful local magician and bellydancer (Arabian Nights theme)
Now, it is time to make a big push to promote the project, establish our relationships with area schools, and start up the many educational programs for the upcoming the school year. Before the end of 2018, we aim to fully engage and take root in the community.
As mentioned, your previous support with funds and enthusiasm was crucial to getting to where we are now.
Moving forward, there are still some basic financial needs not yet met. We have a great location, on a busy street with 40,000 cars passing every day, and we want be sure they all see and know about us. Funds are needed to get the enormous BOOKS sign mounted to the top of the building so people know about us.
Physical plant needs funds for a solid security system, as we were unfortunately burgled and robbed during the moving in and renovation process.
Running and publicizing our many book-related educational programs, workshops, (collage college, bookbinding, writing, etc.) also calls out in financial need. Funds are needed for city-wide promotion to alert folks to our resources.
Finally, the story-time book club, which provides books for families to take home and start their own libraries, wants for funding.
All this brings us back to the main point of this GoFundMe effort.
Keeping books, bookstores and “book culture” alive simply requires more financial support than the retail market provides.
The future of books and bookstores as we know them requires timely interventive financial support from all you dedicated people who care deeply about our future.
As we lose bookstores, we lose both books and readers. If we take measures to insure bookstore survival, we grow new readers, thinkers, writers, artists and visionaries.
Books nurture us all and we owe it to ourselves to provide them not just a home but a center in which to be honored and kept vital.
With your support, the Book has a very good chance.