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RiverRun Bookstore in New Hampshire needs a lifeline

October 31, 2011 |  8:25 am

Riverrunbookstore
RiverRun Bookstore in Portsmouth, N.H., will be leaving its location when its lease is up at the end of 2011. Owner Tom Holbrook has emailed customers saying that in order to survive, the store will need to find a less-expensive location; it could also use some new investors.

When we moved into this space five years ago business was booming, the economy was good, and the Kindle didn't exist yet.

Fast forward to 2011 and we simply cannot afford the most expensive real estate in the most expensive city in New Hampshire.  The world of books is a beautiful one, but a shrinking one. We just can't stay here.

The rise of digital books, the poor economy, and some very large debts have left the store in a terrible position.  We've hung on by our fingernails for the last two years hoping things would improve, but they haven't.

For that reason, for RiverRun to survive we must not only find a new location, but we also need to re-capitalize the store.  Much of our trouble started in 2007 when I took a large loan to buy out my business partners, so I am now more than willing to take on new partners, if there is anyone out there foolish enough to be interested.

RiverRun Bookstore became more than just a neighborhood bookstore thanks largely to the tireless Internet efforts of Michele Filgate, events coordinator and avid tweeter. When I was in Portsmouth in 2009, I made it a point to stop in at RiverRun -- I didn't catch Filgate, but I found a lovely space with bright new wood floors, handsome displays and a comfortable layout.

Filgate has moved on -- she's now at McNally Jackson Books in New York -- and RiverRun Bookstore doesn't have quite the same Internet presence. But it appears that what it needs more than Internet support are local readers who can come in on a day-to-day basis and buy books. In addition to a new and cheaper location, that is.

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-- Carolyn Kellogg

Photo: RiverRun Bookstore. Credit: RiverRun Bookstore

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