There’s no more beating around the bush. Bookstores are dying and they need our help. But is asking people to donate money really the right way to go about this? The Polare stores throughout Holland aren’t the only ones turning to their customers for money to keep afloat. The English Bookshop in Amsterdam is in equal peril to try and keep their prime location. Through crowd funding they are appealing to their customers to donate their money to you, but luckily for us this doesn’t come without a reward. We’re not talking about stupid stuff like eternal gratitude or your name upon a website, but real world, physical goods. But the rewards offered by Donner moet blijven as well as The English Bookshop are remarkably tame. They offer some free books, first pick at sales and a book club, all things you  expect from a book shop. However, hasn’t it been made clear that bookstores need to do something new, something exciting and extraordinary to stay in business? Then why doesn’t this also apply to their crowd funding campaigns? Luckily not all book stores are taking the safe road to success and to showcase this we created a list of the best crowd funding rewards given by bookshops.

Right now we’re still bored with your offerings

Starting at the low low price of $20 The Book House in St. Louis offered a specialized out of print book search. For only 20 dollars these literary detectives will go out of their way to get you that first edition signed copy of Moby Dick or a real-life Gutenberg Bible. Of course the price of the book is not included in this deal, but o how I would love to follow these literary private eyes on the roller coaster ride of bookish treasures. I’m imagining their life as a combination of Noah Wyle’s the Librarian and Jonathan Ames, wacky adventures without all the bad special effects. Is it too late to change my career plans?

He can handle my books any day

For just 50 bucks Uncharted Books in Chicago offered to give you a lifetime 5% discount card. You will get books cheaper than most others for your entire life! No more student card fraud, pretending you are still in college while you’re almost 30 or bringing your grandma along to get a senior citizen discount. No more hassle, just 5% discount for ever, all the time! We did the ‘math’ and with buying only 20 books at €10,- a pop you will get the 21st for free. That might sound like you need to buy a lot of books, but why are you saying that like it’s a bad thing?

Gnu’s room, a non-profit bookshop in Alabama is taking the fancy pants route by offering to make you a hand-painted ivory scrimshaw bookmark for donating a $100.  This reward is not for squeamish readers and if you are looking forward to putting a dead elephant’s teeth in between your pages, this is the deal for you.

Scrimshaw ivory bookmark? Don’t worry, I had to Google it as well

We’re quickly moving up in the world of monetary rewards with Books & Brews. Not only have they stolen our business plan of serving books with beer, they are also willing to offer you your very own barstool for $250 so you can literally tell someone to get out of your seat. Just imagine coming into the shop and shooing someone away from the perfect spot because it does in fact have your name on it. If you are willing to upgrade, they also offer a table for $275, but you will have to buy the seats separately. Besides these rewards they also offer to make a custom batch of beer with your name on it, but as this is also taken straight of our business plan we won’t linger on it. Stupid Books & Brews, beating us at our own game…

The Big Idea is a cooperative shop specializing in radical and progressive literature. This fun bunch is also willing to cook for you in your own home if you donate $500 to their shop. This way you will be fed (ideas) and they don’t have to stay to clean up the mess! A win-win situation, only available to people living in Pittsburgh.

The more money you are willing to give, the more food you are offered. Ancestry’s Pop-up store will set up a private dinner with you for only $1000 and they promise to talk to you about their dreams for the bookstore. I would have thought that for a thousand dollars you at least got to talk about your own hopes and dreams.

Books of Wonder needed a revitalization and for that they offer to host you a birthday party in their shop for $1500. For some reason  this one is only for children’s birthdays. Why try to cater to kids? They don’t have $1500 lying around and grown-ups need parties just as badly, if not more. Although it might have something to do with this being a children’s bookstore, I still think they missed an opportunity.

You are never too old for a bookshop birthday bash

You might think giving away a 1000 dollars is a lot, but we haven’t stepped up to the big leagues yet. The final two rewards are for benefactors willing to spend $10.000 on their love of books.
Books and Boos (no I’m not misspelling booze), a horror specialized shop is offering you the original Revenge of the Jedi movie script, penned by none other than George Lucas. They claim that this was the original title, before Lucas changed it into Return of the Jedi, but all I smell is a set-up to get a fan-fiction manuscript sold for way more than it’s worth.

Is it me or does this actually sound better than the ‘original’ title?

And to turn back to Uncharted Books who not only offer large rewards for small prices, but also small rewards for large prices. I do have to say they are on to something though. For $10.000 they offer to help you move once, because that money can buy you more books than they can offer. Honestly, if you are willing to spend that much money on any kickstarter project, please come and find us. We will put your money to good use and give you the honorary title of Bored to Death $ugah daddy/mommy.

Some of these are pretty sweet rewards, but we still had the feeling something was missing. We would have loved to see a shop offering a take-over for a couple of hours, because it is every book lovers dream to own a bookshop. Another option we would love is the offering to lie for you on your resume. Nowadays it’s so hard to find a job in the book world and for the tiny price of several hundred euros we would totally be willing to lie for you. Who says employee of the year is not for sale?

There are probably many other great rewards we haven’t even thought off. Let us know which of these rewards you would totally pay for or what you would like to see in crowd funding campaigns for books!

Author

Esmée de Heer is head honcho over at the Bored to Death book club website, writing the daily content and making sure the site stays up and running. She’s one of the founding sisters of the book club and enjoys reading and giving unsolicited love advice.

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