Just over a year after Dane Neller, cofounder and CEO of On Demand Books (the maker of the Espresso Book Machine), and a group of backers purchased New York City’s Shakespeare & Co. with the intent of forming a national bookstore chain, they have begun raising capital to move forward with their plans.
According to a Form D filing made with the SEC on Friday, Espresso Bookstore & Cafe Holdings, which includes both Shakespeare & Co. and On Demand Books, has been able to raise $7.75million of a $12 million offering. The fundraising remains open to see if the offer will be fully taken.
Although the reason for the financing was unspecified on the form, Neller confirmed to PW that this is capital for expanding the bookstore business. “The store at 939 Lexington is a pretty good prototype: a smaller footprint, a café, and an Espresso Book Machine,” he said. The Upper East Side bookstore has 5,000 sq. ft., which includes a basement with the company’s corporate offices.
While Neller declined to say how many Shakespeare & Co. stores will open in 2017, he noted, “our plans are ambitious. We’re pleased with the model. We like the way the café and the machine harmonize.” The stores will likely go into urban areas and college communities.
As part of the push to create a bookstore chain, the focus of On Demand Books has also begun to change. While the company, which became a sister business to the bookstore in the spring, will continue to sell book machines to other bookstores and libraries, its focus will become more consumer-facing, said Neller. A number of the book machines produced, he noted, will be used to service the company’s own stores.