Thursday, November 29, 2018

It’s Time to Step Up and Help Again

Damn! It seems that small American bookstores specializing in crime, mystery, and thriller fiction can never rest secure of their finances these days. In Reference to Murder’s B.V. Lawson brings the unwelcome news that “Once Upon a Crime, an independent mystery bookstore in Minneapolis for 31 years, has launched a GoFundMe page after suffering financial difficulties.”

Proprietors Dennis Abraham and Meg King-Abraham, who bought that shop in the spring of 2016 (and have since put their daughter, Devin, in charge of managing its impressive stock), report that decreases in sales have left them carrying somewhat more debt on the venture than they’d expected, “in addition to the original loan allowing us to purchase the store.” To pay off a portion of said debt, their new GoFundMe campaign is hoping to raise $50,000 necessary to keep the shop running. After three days, it has already brought in promises of (at last count) $16,238 of that total, contributed by 243 people.

I have a good friend who lives in Minneapolis, and I visit Once Upon a Crime on every occasion I roll into town. Last summer I finally discovered the store’s down-the-hall Annex, which is chock-a-block with first-edition hardcover works and vintage paperbacks. Several books from that trove came home with me, and I’ve since asked that more out-of-print books be sent my way. Once Upon a Crime is a splendid example of a friendly, knowledgeable business catering to the sometimes-eccentric demands of mystery-fiction readers. It would be a terrible shame to see it fail, while corporate booksellers survive.

If you can it in this hour of need, please do.

No comments: