On December 1st, 2012 Reading Frenzy was informed that we had lost our lease to make way for an expanded lobby in our home of 17 years and we were given 90 days to vacate. After we hustled through the holidays we set our sights on finding a suitable new location, which has proven more challenging than we had anticipated. Vacancy is low, rents are high, and we were unable to secure a new space before our move out date. Reading Frenzy closed its doors to the public on February 22nd.
UPDATE: We have a space ready and waiting for us if our project succeeds!
Reading Frenzy was founded in 1994 and is devoted to independent, small press, and self-published titles. With a start-up fund of $4000 and a lot of gumption and support we've managed to bring the best of the independent press to Portland and beyond for 18+ years, producing over 500 literary and art events, launching our own publishing venture -- Show & Tell Press -- and sparking kindred projects like the Independent Publishing Resource Center in the process.
This is not another story about a struggling indie bookshop with declining sales. After two decades of bookselling I can happily say that reports of the death of print (and independent bookstores) have been greatly exaggerated. Reading Frenzy has survived the advent of the Internet, the rise of big box bookstores and Amazon, the decline of independent booksellers nationwide, the invention of e-books and e-readers, massive changes in the publishing industry, and a three year recession, to have one of our best years EVER in 2012! With your help things can only get better!
That said this move has forced us to really examine what's working and not working. We've determined that we need increase our retail space, inventory, and sales, in order to adequately support a small staff and allow us to grow and thrive, and that's going to take capital that we don't have. We also want to produce more of our own publications and expand our events programming which will help us further our mission while subsidizing the shop. Here's what we have planned for the new space:
- Move to a bigger space and a better location!
- Double or triple our inventory!
- Create a dedicated art exhibit space!
- Increase our events programming!
With time, space, and additional funding we also plan to add workshops to our events roster, a reading room to show off and share our amazing archive, and an artist's book and zine print-on-demand project!
Before we had even closed, friends stepped forward and offered personal loans totaling $22,000, we raised another $2000 through an art auction and spontaneous donations, and had set up two more benefits. It was inspiring to have so many people offer so much without even being asked, and it gave us hope at a difficult time, but we realized that borrowing money was not the surest path to a sustainable future. So instead we're turning to our patrons -- past, present, and future -- to help us raise at least $40,000 (after reward costs, shipping, and project fees) of the $60,000 we need for our relaunch in order to minimize the need for loans and give us solid footing and a fresh start. If we fail to meet our minimum goal we will not receive any of the funds raised and Reading Frenzy will not reopen.
Please help out any way you can whether it's becoming a backer or sharing our project with your friends. We've got some fantastic rewards for you -- the biggest of which will be getting to see Reading Frenzy become everything it could and should be! We know the support is out there for this project -- it's just a matter of us reaching enough people in the next 30 days for it to succeed!
Your Faithful Proprietress,
P.S. Here's a quick rundown of what we'll be spending this money on: build out, fixtures, equipment, inventory, rewards production, and shipping costs. $5000 or 10% of the total raised goes to project fees. NO Kickstarter funds will be used for rent, deposits, payroll, personal expenses, or debts.
CERTIFICATES ($10): According to Quentin Crisp, "To love another you have to undertake some fragment of their destiny." Because they've undertaken a small piece of our destiny all backers at the $10 and up level will receive a special certificate from Reading Frenzy. Artist and design to be shared during project campaign.
500 FRIENDS OF READING FRENZY MEMBERSHIPS ($25 & UP): 500 Friends of Reading Frenzy (now 1000 Friends of Reading Frenzy) members receive a 10% discount on general merchandise, 25% off Reading Frenzy exclusives (like prints, t-shirts, and totes), member discounts on our ticketed events, and an invite to our annual Membership Appreciation Party! This is a great way to support Reading Frenzy up front while receiving benefits, possibly of a greater value, throughout the year!
EBERHARDT PRESS TIGER PACKAGE ($40): Includes Scratching the Tiger's Belly -- a new collection of writings by our favorite anarcho-surrealist author Ron Sakolsky and a handy spiral bound tiger notepad + 1-Year 500 Friends Membership. SOLD OUT!
WHO IS BOZO TEXINO? The Epic Tale of the Improbable Discovery of the True Identity of the World's Greatest Boxcar Artist ($45): Filmmaker Bill Daniel is an old pal of the shop and we love his 16-year in the making film about the search for Bozo Texino! You get a signed copy + 1-Year 500 Friends Membership!
SPAGHETTI FEED AT SWEEDEEDEE ($50): Join us on Sunday, July 14th for a down home spaghetti feed at one of Portland's best new cafes! You will also receive a 1-Year 500 Friends Membership! More details to be announced soon. Gratuity not included on meal ($25 value).
FLATTER! PACK ($50): Flatter! The Journal of Oblate Puffery and its editrix, Jaina A. Davis, have been an essential part of Reading Frenzy since our doors first opened! You will find early artwork by Christine Shields, Dame Darcy, Kathy Fenker, and Jason Mecier. Comics by John Porcellino, Elizabeth Watasin, Bwana Spoons, Sam Henderson, and Tim Hensley. Plus my favorite ongoing photo series, "Wear My Tiara", and lots, lots more + 1-Year 500 Friends Membership! SOLD OUT!
T-SHIRTS & TOTES ($50): We're are thrilled to pieces to announce that Mary Kate McDevitt will be designing our sassy t-shirts and totes! We hope to show you a rough sketch, if not the finished product before project's end, in the meantime I can tell you it will be 2-color silkscreen, and will read "Not tonight, I'm reading" along with "Reading Frenzy, Portland, OR, Est. 1994" + 1-Year 500 Friends Membership. Men's and women's styles from XS-3XL! Here's an example of her work:
And here's a rough sketch of the actual t-shirt design!
POSTERS ($50): Take your pick from these donated posters + 1-Year 500 Friends Membership!
READING FRENZY POSTERS ($50-$65): Every now and then we invite one of our favorite artists to create an original work of art celebrating reading. Here are our first four! You get your pick from the posters below (No Book Ever Ends is SOLD OUT) + 1-Year 500 Friends Membership.
KERR VOTIVE LANTERN ($65): Sublime ceramicist and former Reading Frenzy volunteer, Lisa Jones, has donated 15 of her beautiful porcelain lanterns cast from a Kerr Mason Jar! They give off a lovely glow inside and out when lit (2.5″x 3.5″) + 1-Year 500 Friends Membership. SOLD OUT!
CUSTOM HAND-LETTERED ARTWORK ($70): Fantastic artist and thinker and former Reading Frenzy volunteer, Nicole Lavelle, will create a custom hand-lettered piece of original art for you in India ink on colored paper (8.5"x11") + 1-Year 500 Friends Membership! SOLD OUT!
DINNER ($75): Join us on May 5th, 2013 to celebrate Reading Frenzy's next chapter and your faithful proprietress's birthday with a fancy 3-course meal at 2nd Story! Special guest authors LIDIA YUKNAVITCH (Chronology of Water, Dora) and MONICA DRAKE (Clown Girl, The Stud Book)!!! You get 10% off your book purchases with your new 1-Year 500 Friends Membership! MENU: Appetizers TBA, salad with greens, peas, radishes, almonds, tarragon, and vinaigrette, entree of braised beef, polenta, roasted asparagus, and crispy shallots, dessert of almond tart, rhubarb compote, brandied cream. Food restrictions can be accommodated with several days notice. Gratuity not included on meal ($50 value).
CAPRICIOUS MAGAZINE MYSTERY PACK ($75): You get a surprise assortment of three hard to find back issues of this NYC based art photography magazine + 1-Year 500 Friends Membership! Capricious magazine is a thematic biannual publication dedicated to showcasing emerging fine art photography from around the world.
ANORAK PACK ($85): Anorak Magazine, the ‘happy mag for kids’ is aimed at boys and girls aged between 6 and 12 years old. It's by far the coolest kid's mag we've ever seen -- full-color, minimal ads, with art by dozens of the best contemporary illustrators around, and packed full of stories, articles, games and more! You'll receive 10 back issues of Anorak (excluding #27) + 1-Year 500 Friends Membership! $125 value! SOLD OUT!
ZINE SMORGASBORD ($85): Includes 10 zine collections -- Best of Intentions: The Avow Anthology, Zine Yearbook #9, Distance Makes the Heart Grow Sick, Scam: The First Four Issues, Nine Gallons #2, Constant Rider Omnibus, Awesome Future: Stories of Victorious Action, Brainfag Forever, Dreamwhip #14, Snakepit 2007 (all published and donated by Microcosm Publishing) + Applicant by Jesse Reklaw (one of our favorite zines of all time) + 1 surprise zine from our collection + 500 Friends Membership. Value $125! SOLD OUT!
SHELF HELP ($100): Are you overwhelmed by your reading list or just not sure what to read next? Do you have a big decision, lingering doubts, or a central question you need to answer before you feel like you can move forward with your life? After a lifetime of voracious reading and 20+ years as a bookseller, accompanied by a vast network of miscellaneous experts, academics, and autodidacts to call upon, Your Faithful Proprietress is well equipped to guide you in reading choices beneficial to almost whatever psychic ailment you may be experiencing. You will be asked to fill out a questionnaire in advance of meeting over tea (my treat!) for a 45 minute tête-à-tête (in person meetings are strongly preferred but video calling is an option). You will leave with an instant prescription, and within one week a more detailed recommendation of six or so titles will follow. Please note: The focus will primarily be on creative non-fiction and practical information. Fiction and poetry may or may not be part of your reading prescription.You will also receive a 1-Year 500 Friends Membership!
UNDER WILDWOOD PACKAGE ($100): You get a signed copy of Under Wildwood by Colin Meloy & Carson Ellis, a limited edition (edition of 25, digital archival pigment on cotton rag, 5"x7"), signed print by Carson Ellis (pictured below) and a 1-Year 500 Friends Membership!
MIRANDA JULY POSTER ($100): Miranda generously donated the artwork for this poster, and Seizure Palace generously donated the printing! It's a big one -- 20"x30" -- and a limited edition of 150. You also get a 2-Year 500 Friends Membership!
ADVENTURE TIME PACKAGE ($250): This extra special reward package includes one copy of the forthcoming Adventure Time Encyclopaedia: Inhabitants, Lore, Spells, and Ancient Crypt Warnings of the Land of Ooo Circa 19.56 B.G.E. - 501 A.G.E. signed by Pendleton Ward (series creator), Martin Olson (writer/voice of Hunson Abadeer aka "The Lord of Evil"), and Olivia Olson (voice of Marceline) + two signed prints by Mahendra Singh from the Encyclopaedia (see below) + one signed print by Renee French from the Encyclopaedia (see below) + 5-Year 500 Friends of Reading Frenzy Membership! Prints are signed, digital archival pigment, 6"x9", and limited to an edition of 10. SOLD OUT!
ONE PERCENTER/TWO PERCENTER REWARD ($500): Lifetime (yours/ours) 500 Friends Membership + T-Shirt + Tote + Certificate + Button + one of our folding chairs personally inscribed with your name! The inscription can be your name, your family's name(s), or your independently owned business. If you have other ideas about what you'd like it to say just shoot us a message and we'll discuss it.
TWO PERCENTER REWARD ($1000): Everything mentioned in the ONE PERCENTER REWARD + own a piece of Reading Frenzy history -- the book that got us in The New Yorker! Twenty-Two Stories by J.D. Salinger was a bootleg book we briefly carried in the 1990s, put out by anonymous publisher "Train Bridge Recluse". We have just 3 mint condition copies of the book which is valued at $500+.
Special thanks to Eric Kilkenney (animation and music) and Karl Lind (video and sound) for making us such an awesome video! Thanks also to Marilyn Zornado, Melissa Favara, Christopher Peralta, Martin Ontiveros, Jen Wick, and Shelley Turley for testimonials! Finally thanks to Eric Kilkenney and Nicole Thompson for hand modeling!
Thanks also to all our awesome donors! Please click through the images above and check out their websites and wares!
Risks and challenges
We've pulled off several successful Kickstarter projects so we feel confident in our ability to produce and ship rewards in a timely fashion. Most of the rewards have already been produced. The biggest risk in this project is the potential delay in securing a viable space and re-opening by summer 2013 as we are currently shooting for. This will not prevent production or fulfillment of of any of the merchandise rewards (t-shirts, prints, etc.) or the dinner, but without a physical space a membership won't be useful. If funded it will not be a matter of if, but when we reopen. Membership terms (1-year, 2-year, etc.) will not begin until our reopening.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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