Although San Francisco, Calif.-based Bibliohead Bookstore is only 700 sq. ft., it is confronting a problem that many of its larger brethren are also coping with: rising rent.
The store’s rent could double next year after its building is retrofitted to withstand earthquakes. But that’s not Bibliohead's only financial concern. To stay in its current location, the 10-year-old used bookstore will have to pay for the renovation. It will also have to pack up for the first four months of 2015 while the work is being done. Its other option, to move, could prove equally costly.
Bibliohead’s lease expires in August, and bookstore owner Melissa Richmond received word last month about the changes. The landlord has offered to extend the current lease through the end of 2014 until the work begins. “What is so disheartening,” Richmond wrote in an e-mail to PW, “is that we were having another banner year—but suddenly this puts us on the ropes.” Over the past ten years, Bibliohead has averaged 7% growth annually.
Earlier this month Bibliohead, perhaps the only bookstore with a bubble gum poetry machine, launched an Indiegogo campaign, which will run through August 12. The $60,000 goal will give the store the money it needs to either stay in its current location, pay for the renovations, and put the bookstore on hold for part of a year, or to move.
As Richmond told PW for a story on micro bookstores last year: “If you’re smaller, you’re nimbler—more able to cope with the ups and downs of the book business.” Bibliohead’s small size could give it the edge it needs to survive the transition.