Help save Toronto Women's Bookstore

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Tehanu
Help save Toronto Women's Bookstore

Popping in to share ... if people can help spread the word, and/or provide any kind of financial support, that would be super. I heard today that the Toronto Women's Bookstore is in danger of closing, which would be pretty tragic. They're one of the only remaining independent bookstores in the city, and they provide amazing support for feminist authors and activist community groups. They're an amazing organization and a beacon for feminists in the city.

They're making a community appeal: http://www.womensbookstore.com/communityletter.html

Please help if you can! Please tell people on your networks!

 

Quote:
The Toronto Women's Bookstore is in crisis and we need your help!

Independent businesses and bookstores have been closing their doors this year, and after 36 years it is possible that we will have to do the same if we are not able to raise enough money to survive. TWB is one of the only remaining non-profit feminist bookstores in North America, but despite all of the events, courses, workshops, community resources and additional services we offer, the fact that we are a store means that we do not receive any outside funding and rely entirely on sales and the support of our customers to stay in business.

Over the past few years, our sales have not been enough to sustain us and this is why we are coming to you, our community, for help. If every one of you donated $10 we would raise enough to keep going for 3 months, $20 each would keep us in business for 6 months, and $30 each would be enough for us to keep our doors open, hopefully for good. All donations will go directly towards covering the bookstore's costs, and are a part of a larger plan of action and structural change to make the business sustainable in the current economy.

In the past, when feminist bookstores were closing down all across North America, the support of the community is what kept TWB alive. You are the reason that we are still here today, and we believe that with your help we can once again work together to save this organization where so many of us as readers, writers, feminists, artists, and activists have found a home.

You can make donations over the phone, on our website www.womensbookstore.com (a paypal link will be available soon), or in person at the store. As a non-profit store we are not eligible for charitable status and cannot offer tax receipts, but we are hoping to be able to offer tax receipts for donations over $100 in collaboration with a non-profit charity who shares our mandate, and if that can be arranged we will have that information available on our website and in store as soon as possible.

You can also help by spreading the word to your friends and community, contacting us if you know of any funding we might be eligible for, promoting this fundraising drive in your paper or on your blog, website or radio show, organizing your own save the bookstore fundraisers or just passing the hat at your holiday parties, giving a TWB donation as a gift, and of course, coming in and bringing all your friends to the store for some holiday shopping!

Thank you all for your support,
The Toronto Women's Bookstore Board, Staff & Volunteers

E.Tamaran

Consider for a moment the request: "Over the past few years, our sales have not been enough to sustain us and this is why we are coming to you, our community, for help. If every one of you donated $10 we would raise enough to keep going for 3 months, $20 each would keep us in business for 6 months, and $30 each would be enough for us to keep our doors open, hopefully for good. All donations will go directly towards covering the bookstore's costs, and are a part of a larger plan of action and structural change to make the business sustainable in the current economy."

The business owners are asking for a donation of $10/20/30 to cover the store's costs but aren't providing any background financial information to the public. People will be unable to make an informed decision on whether or not to provide a subsidy until the business owners declare their expenses and revenue.

Unionist

[sarcasm on] Yeah, what is this?

We want full disclosure!

How do we know this isn't just another Ponzi scheme?

There should be a means test for struggling feminist bookstores!

It's not as if these folks are drawing from the public trough. They're asking for voluntary private donations! The nerve!

Can you imagine paying income tax or sales tax without receiving full financial disclosure and a detailed prospectus as to how your money will be spent!? I thought not. [sarcasm off]

Thanks for letting us know, Tehanu, and for dropping by. Sorry you have to read some of this stuff.

 

Maysie Maysie's picture

Thanks for posting this, Tehanu. This is very sad news, but hopefully the community will support this important place.

The Toronto Women's Bookstore is a non-profit corporation.

There are no owners.

E, if you have any understanding of the Canadian book industry at all over the past 10+ years, and if you had any understanding of small independent bookstores, you might not be so hostile. Don't donate anything then.

Full disclosure, I worked at TWB for almost 10 years and left in 2005. I'm also a past co-chair of their board of directors.

 

Le T Le T's picture

they're an incoporated non-profit. their financial statments are probably availble to members if you ask or go to the AGM

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

When I attended U 0f T for my Master's 1977 - 1980, the folks at the Major Street commune where we lived all supported the TWB, as well as the Harbord Bakery, because both places were full of the nicest people one could hope to meet. I'm frankly very sad that TWB is falling on hard times. I hope the community appeal (and beyond) is very succesful. I'm frankly strapped for cash because of home renovations, but when my housing grant comes in next year I will earmark some of it for TWB.

col

It also seems worthwhile to note that as a not-for-profit, Toronto Women's Bookstore has no owners. The appeal is from the Board of Directors and the staff.

Maysie Maysie's picture

Good news. 

Smile

Quote:

Dear TWB community,

We know you have been waiting to hear the latest update, and we finally have something to tell you - it has been a challenging process, but we have found a new owner for TWB! There are still some logistics & legalities to be worked out so unfortunately we can't give out much concrete information yet, but we can tell you that she is someone who has worked at the store in the past and intends to carry it on in the same tradition. We are expecting the transition to happen for June 1st, and we will let you know as soon as the details are confirmed.

Many of you have asked us how you can help and we have several projects in mind for late May which we will be asking for assistance with, but what we need most is for you to keep shopping at TWB and making donations to help us through this last month. There will be a lot of work and also hidden costs associated with winding down the non-profit business and transitioning to a new model, and we need your continued support in order to meet all of our ethical obligations and give the new TWB owner the best chance of success.

And speaking of shopping, on Saturday, May 22nd we will be having a store-wide sale with 10% off regular stock, lots of discounted books and cds, food and live performances! More info TBA soon.

We want to thank you all for loving TWB so much and helping us through this year. As always, we couldn't have done it without you!

the TWB Staff & Board
..........

Sean in Ottawa

Sad to hear this.

I operated a small independent book publishing company from 1987-2000. The Toronto Women's bookstore bought many of our books. They went through hard times a few times but always managed to pay the small publishers because they really understood what we were going through and they cared about our survival. They are fine people and deserve support.

BTW, The Ottawa Women's bookstore was also kind and considerate to small publishers even through their own difficulty-- in fact when they were going under they paid out the small publishers as well. I will never forget that kindness because we were having a hard time too and that small amount of money helped greatly.

Eventually, I had to stop publishing and a big part of that was related to what happened with the biggest bookstore in the country.

If there is any way to keep this bookstore going people should try.

If you live in the GTA, go down there and buy some books as well.

 

E.Tamaran

Does paper publishing have a future? Kindle, ebooks, iPad, etc will make most physical books obsolete. There will always be the specialty books that cost 100 dollars, but the bulk of the market will be digital.

zazzo

Personally, I prefer to my reading material to not be dependent on a source of electricity. Who knows how long electricity will remain affordable, or even available. Books last longer, and can be shared.

Bacchus

Its an excellent place and I have truly found some wonderful books there, including the one that set me on the path that ended here