by Eric Whittington
Photo: Michelle Gachet, SF Chronicle
Sales are up!
Five or six weeks ago, we let you know that things were tight once again. Hey, it happens! The news is full of good news about independent bookstores being on an upswing, and it could well be true– but it’s still a tough slog, though one we’re happy to make.
Because of your book buying, sales have been up substantially, and it’s made all the difference! We know you’re all making a concerted effort to support the enterprise in that key way and we want to let you know we appreciate it hugely. Books still exert their considerable charms, and young and old, plenty of you find them irresistible. Yay for that, and thanks!
We also appreciate the many donations to the nonprofit, which makes it possible to keep the music and poetry happening. And happen it does! We may have the liveliest events calendar of any bookstore in the region. That only happens with your support.
And while we’re talking thanks, can we get a round of applause for Lorretta, Jenna, Michael, Angie & Arthur? They first three are the ones keeping the store tuned up and humming six days a week! Sundays it’s up to me, but the rest of the time I rely on them heavily, and they do a fine job for which I’m ever grateful! Angie keeps the publicity going, documents things photographically, has a significant role in booking the music, helps me run the Saturday night jazz club, gives away copies of the constitution, fights the power… Arthur keeps the books straight (the accounting ones, that is) — a daunting task, I’m sure, esp. considering my disorganized nature.
And then there’s Jerry, running the poetry programs for 15 years or more… Walker with his monthly talk… the musicians, the poets, the artists…
And how about the people who show up for the shows, putting their hard earned dough in the donation buckets week after week after week? Some are here every single week with a ten dollar bill…that’s a $500 investment in culture every year. Imagine! But even if you’re here once in a blue moon and feeding that bucket, you’re making a big difference. You understand that we’re here trying to funnel a few shekels to the culture workers who make our lives make sense, and entertain us hugely in the process.
So don’t doubt it– you are a generous lot! You deserve a pat on the back and much more. We show our gratitude as best we can by keeping the culture lively and showcasing it in the best light we know how.
Thanks as well to a clutch of individuals who have consistently lent volunteer support and expertise through the years… Neighborhood folks like Nancy, Susan, Ernie, Dan, Suresh, Evelyn who serve on the board of the nonprofit; Barb, who helps me crank out the thank you letters for donors to the nonprofit and who helps lure in some fine jazz musicians to play here; Heather who helps get prime the website pump; Debbie, who as we speak is pulling together the silent auction aspect of the May 12 benefit…
Who am I forgetting!? Many have done such yeoman’s work for us in the past, and many more will step up in the future.
Special thanks to several people who have recently volunteered to provide significant expertise and talents, some already embarking on needed tasks and some patiently waiting for me to find the moment to call on them… Robin, Amanda, Allison, Brian, Sue, Ellen, Steve, Loren…
Come May, we’ll be embarking on our 20th year of this! Thanks one and all, thanks Glen Park, thanks San Francisco…
Perhaps you’ve seen the news that Amazon is opening a retail bookstore ten times the size of Bird & Beckett over in Berkeley (they’ve already opened stores 4X as big in Walnut Creek and San Jose). If you’ve got any influence over friends and family, let them know that the only way to keep their neighborhoods and downtowns human is to turn their backs on the behemoth and to support the little joints they love and depend on.
There have been perilous times in the book biz before, and this represents the latest wrinkle. Help us tough it out, and the culture will be all the stronger for it.
Thanks, thanks… a million thanks!
(Ed. note –For a tribute to Bird and Beckett Books by SF Gate, click here.)