NEW YORK (CBS 2) — Neighbors in the East Village are coming together, battling to save a beloved bookshop. It is on the verge of closing, but not if they can help it.

For 35 years the St. Mark’s Bookshop has been serving the community. But now, a bad economy may close the book on the neighborhood treasure.

“To me the bookstore is a reflection of the community,” said Terry McCoy, co-owner of the shop, told CBS 2’s Vanessa Murdock.

“This is a calling. Without bookstores there is only the Internet,” said co-owner Bob Contant.

Business over the last three years has gone downhill.

“You wondered had you lost all of your support,” said McCoy.

To make ends meet, the St. Mark’s co-owners have done all they can think of to cut costs, including cutting their own salaries and living on their Social Security benefits.

They’ve asked the owner of the building – The Cooper Union – to reduce their rent by 25 percent, from $20,000 TO $15,000 per month. They say it is a necessity to keep their business going.

“Everybody sacrifices and we’re asking them to sacrifice a little bit too,” Contant said.

The community is rallying behind the independent book store. About 40,000 people have signed a petition to keep it at the location.

The petition was started by the Cooper Square Committee – an organization dedicated to preserving the community’s identity.

“We’re tired of seeing these small mom & pop businesses on the Lower East Side disappearing,” said Joyce Ravitz, of the committee.

Many people that spoke to Murdock agreed.

“It’s not a Starbucks, it’s not a Barnes & Noble and it really makes a difference in my quality of life in the East Village,” said Marla Rosental.

St. Mark’s Bookshop owner Terry McCoy suggests the best way to save the store is for customers to just buy a book or a magazine. Individuals don’t have to spend much to keep St. Mark’s open.

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