The Fate of St. Mark's Bookshop Could Be Decided Today [Update]

st marks bookshop.jpg
St. Mark's Bookshop has fallen on hard times lately, inspiring a local campaign to pressure landlord Cooper Union to lower the rent from $20,000/month to a more manageable $15,000. Otherwise, the store might have to close.

According to a letter from the Cooper Square Committee, today is the day that Cooper Union's board will decide whether or not to lower the rent -- essentially deciding the fate of the bookshop.

Please contact Cooper Union President Jamshed Bharucha immediately. or (212) 353-4250.

A Board committee is meeting [today] to decide if they will reduce St Mark's Bookshop's $20,000/month rent by $5,000. Thousands of emails or calls will influence the decision.

Tell the President to reduce the bookshop rent to $15,000 a month until the economy improves. You can add any additional comments.

Your support is invaluable.

We're waiting to confirm this with Cooper Union.

Update 10:39 a.m.: Cooper Union says there's no meeting today. Spokeswoman Claire McCarthy told us in an email that "There is no meeting of the Board of Cooper Union today. Discussions are ongoing; as previously stated, the outcome will be announced by the end of this month."

Previously: Cooper Square Committee Protests Cooper Union Over St. Mark's Bookshop Rent

Rent Too Damn High for St. Mark's Bookshop; East Village Institution Might Have to Close

[] [@_rosiegray]

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As a lover of independent bookstores, I am sad to hear that St. Mark's is having a difficult time sustaining itself. That said, I find it unseemly that they are a for-profit business attacking a non-profit...a business which happens to be the only non-profit college in america which provides free tuition. It is not as if they are Bank of America. If St Mark's is struggling in this economy, how do they think Cooper Union is faring? How do they think they are continuting to provide free college education to their students? Which would you rather have, free education for the brightest kids in America or low cost books? Think about it people...don't react, just think for a minute...


I've got no sympathy for St Marks Books. The bookshop has asked for relief of $5,000 per month, or $60,000 per year. Essentially, they are asking Cooper Union to expel 2 of its full-scholarship students or fire one of its professors so that the bookshop can remain profitable.

Andy S
Andy S

One of the issues facing St Marks (or rather should that they should be facing up to) is that they are a for-profit business. Without a doubt they provide a valuable local resource and, in fact, many people travel to the area just to visit the bookstore.

However, the owners have neglected to focus on the quality of staff, staff training, customer service and overall strategies to increase revenue. Many visitors to the store feel as though the staff there are merely 'spectators' rather than proactive employees interested in giving visitors the best experience and service.

As a result, one often feels as though one is intruding on an employees time when approaching them for advice. There is also an air of arrogance given off by many staff members, a sort of "well, if you have to ask, you obviously don't understand the subject or author".

As to the owners, they appear to have gone 'AWOL' most of the time, and appear to think that the front of house will run itself.

The point is, I understand why they are asking for, and should recieve a further rent deal, but they also should focus on growing their business, both physical and online.     

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