MAY 30 UPDATE: On Friday night, the protests continued, with some local indies greatly affected. South Minneapolis descended into chaos overnight, with protesters looting businesses and setting fire to buildings and to vehicles all over the area. The building housing two beloved literary icons that adjoin one another and are owned by the same person, Uncle Edgar's Mystery Bookstore and Uncle Hugo's Science Fiction Bookstore in the city's Midtown neighborhood, burned down to the ground Friday night. Dreamhaven Books, a comic bookstore in the city's Standish neighborhood, southeast of Powderhorn Park, was broken into and there was, according to knowledgeable sources, much damage inside the premises. Saturday morning, store supporters were observed, boarding up broken windows.
On Thursday, a second night of rioting in the Twin Cities continues to affect local bookstores, shutting down several for the time being. Unscathed after the first night of the rioting, Moon Palace Books remains in good shape today, although the plywood boarding on its display windows was covered in graffiti this morning. The nearby precinct building was evacuated by police last night and trashed by protesters. It and a building across the street from the bookstore were set on fire. A short video clip of the street scene provided to PW this morning by an onsite observer showed a standoff with a line of police officers in the street in front of the bookstore blocking protesters.
Moon Palace posted on Twitter early this morning that while it appreciates the support it is receiving from community members these past few days, it urges its supporters not to put themselves at risk to protect the store from vandalism. “Things that may be lost or damaged in our building are just things, the Moon Palace tweet stated, “But your life is precious, just like George Floyd’s life was precious.”
Store co-owner Angela Schwesnedl called PW this morning to report that the store is "still standing, and we're okay." She said that during last night's riots outside the store, protesters were imploring other protesters "not to burn down the bookstore, not to burn down the library" nearby. There is no power in the store, and the Schwesnedls are trying to figure out how to gain access to the store today and remove food from its freezers (Moon Palace includes a cafe).
"We're trying to make a plan," Schwesnedl said, "People from around the country have been offering their support. It means a lot to us."
Magers & Quinn Booksellers, several miles west along Lake Street from Moon Palace, announced on Friday that it has temporarily suspended operations, for the safety of bookstore employees. The store will still take orders through its website, but shipping will be delayed.
This story has been updated. It also has been corrected: Midway Bookstore in St. Paul reported that, despite arson nearby on Thursday night, the store is safe and its contents free of smoke damage.