Story continues for West End’s Book People

shuman and erb

Book People’s manager David Shuman and owner Ruth Erb. (Mike Platania)

A West End bookshop will turn a new page after a crowdfunding effort to keep it open proved unconventionally successful.

Book People, a nearly 40-year-old shop at 536 Granite Ave., will remain open and operate under new ownership despite having its Indiegogo campaign fall short of its goal.

The shop took to crowdfunding in December to raise money for renovations and improvements as its owner Ruth Erb prepared for retirement.

In 30 days, Book People raised $14,000 of its $50,000 goal. After Indiegogo took its cut, the business had about $13,000 in its pocket.

But with the help of money raised outside of Indiegogo, manager David Shuman said he and other shop employees are purchasing the business from Erb and will keep it open.

“We just didn’t want to give up,” Shuman said. “We had several donors that didn’t want to go through the website, which is how we’re able to continue operating.”

He said the anonymous benefactors nearly doubled what was raised online, giving the shop just under $26,000 of funding.

With money in hand, Shuman said the group will renovate the shop in stages, a change from its initial plan of shutting down temporarily to complete all the needed renovations, which included new shelving, lighting and flooring.

book people exterior

The shop at 536 Granite Ave. is due for renovations. (Mike Platania)

“We’ll start with the counter and point-of-sale system,” Shuman said, noting that the shop has been using pen and paper to keep track of sales and orders from publishers.

Book People also will go into online sales. Shuman said he aims to have that live in March.

After the counter and point-of-sale system are updated, Shuman said, the shop will get working on flooring in the 72-year-old building.

While Book People will continue on, another local bookshop recently folded up shop.

In December, McKay Brothers Bookstore closed at 8161 Brook Road in the Parham One Shopping Center after about two years in that location.

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