Bookstore Nearly Shut Down 2 Years Ago Due To Rent Hike

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The St. Mark’s Bookshop in the East Village has announced plans for a fundraiser for a move to a cheaper space a few blocks east, according to a published report.

The independent bookstore is currently located at 31 Third Ave., on the ground floor of a high-rise building at the southeast corner of Third Avenue and Stuyvesant Street.

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But a report late last week in Publisher’s Weekly said the store has faced challenges making the rent in the building, which is owned by Cooper Union, and for some time has been seeking to move to a cheaper location.

The bookstore plans to host an auction of signed first editions by writers such as Ann Carson, Lydia Davis and Paul Auster in the store and online on Thursday, Dec. 5, the publication reported. Other unspecified fundraising plans are also under consideration, the publication reported.

The bookstore is seeking to stay in the East Village and move to a space at Avenue A and East 3rd Street, a few blocks south and east of its current location, the publication reported.

The new store would be about half the 1,300 square feet of its current size, but owners said such a cutback makes sense given the dramatic slowdown in print book sales in recent years, the publication reported.

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Back in 2011, the bookstore nearly shut down altogether due to a rent hike by Cooper Union, but it received a reprieve after Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer – now the city comptroller-elect – intervened.

But at the time, Cooper Union agreed to lower the store’s monthly rent by $2,500 – down to $17,500 per month. That was enough to keep the store in operation.

The St. Mark’s Bookshop was founded in the East Village in 1977, and specializes in cultural theory, graphic design, poetry and small press titles, film studies, and periodicals and journals both foreign and domestic.

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