Loyalty Bookstores Nearly Halfway to Fundraising Goal

Loyalty Bookstores’ Indiegogo fundraising campaign has raised nearly half of its $60,000 fundraising goal.

The campaign, which was launched last week to meet urgent needs and make plans for the stores’ future, has gathered over $29,000 from 299 contributions. Contributors can get special Loyalty merchandise, lifetime memberships for discounted shopping, and exclusive author experiences:

We’re rallying to keep our beloved Loyalty Bookstores operating and growing into the future.

Like many small businesses around the country, we’re fighting to stay open following the pandemic slump—and also, as we face the realities of operating a store dedicated to selling books by queer, trans and nonbinary, and BIPOC authors. It’s already a hard business with the conglomeration of publishing in the face of Am*zon, and with book bans, and with that big uptick in sales on books about race swinging downward. But on top of all of that, Loyalty has also experienced a rise in anti-queer sentiment and transphobia at our physical locations during our Drag Story Hour. We’re concerned for the safety and well-being of our customers — and also our staff, who are the beating heart of our stores. Our staff is mostly queer and people of color, some of whom are disabled and neurodivergent. It is time for us to focus on stable growth, safety, and moving our mission forward rather than just surviving.

Loyalty is one of the only bookstores in the country that’s co-owned by two people from two different marginalized backgrounds. We are queer people who are also Black, Filipina, transracially adopted, neurodivergent, and disabled. We’ve worked in the book industry for a combined 17 years, and see the huge need for a store dedicated to creating a community for readers, authors and writers like us — books by queer, trans and nonbinary, and BIPOC writers. We have two locations, one in Washington D.C.’s Petworth neighborhood, and another in Silver Spring, Maryland, and we’ve been an active participant in our communities, hosting events and readings, fundraising and providing books for nonprofit organizations.

This fundraiser will support Loyalty Bookstores as we address some immediate needs and plan for our long-term future. There’s more info in the FAQ section, but here are the basics:

Immediate Needs:

  • Paying down debts and securing new, local vendors
  • Creating an emergency fund (for things like the repair of our Petworth location when it flooded recently!)
  • Changing our Silver Spring operations due to safety concerns
  • Lawyers and accountants for stable growth of the business as we expand
  • Fully launching our Book Mobile, which we’ve lovingly nicknamed “Octavia Bus-ler.” It’s a passenger van that we’ve built out so that we can bring our diverse curation of books to schools and festivals. We need a dedicated staff person for booking and maintaining the Book Mobile. We’ll also be partnering with nonprofit literary organizations to bring our Book Mobile to communities in need. The Book Mobile is one of our major long-term goals, especially as we’re seeing an increase in book bans — books that we pride ourselves on championing.

Long-term Goals:

  • Re-vamping our website and online store in order to streamline the fulfillment process and to make it more mobile friendly
  • Dedicating staff energy to the community building and partnerships Loyalty was founded on before 2020 forced us into survival mode. We want to double down on working with schools, literacy nonprofits, and our community leaders to build and support a network of diverse representation in the awesome DMV.
  • Moving toward an employee-owned model
  • Purchasing our own building and creating writer residencies and ongoing community programming for queer, disabled, immigrant, BIPOC authors and youths (youths!)

What Do I Get?

  • Perks will be a combination of limited edition and classic Loyalty swag, lifetime memberships for discounted shopping, and chances for unique experiences with amazing authors!

The fundraising campaign ends on Friday, December 1.

Loyalty Bookstores graphic

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