Gay’s The Word, last gay bookshop in U.K., may close due to high rent, low sales
By Rex Wockner Wockner News Service
Apr 5, 2007, 18:59
Copyright by The Dallas Voice
The United Kingdom’s last gay bookshop may close because of London’s very high rents and loss of sales to the Internet.
Gay’s The Word is hoping to ward off disaster by raising $40,000 before May 1 to pay bills and set up an online sales site itself. Among other steps, it has launched a “Sponsor a shelf” scheme.
“It costs [$196] and you can either send us a cheque … e-mail your card details or give us a … phone call,” says the store’s Web site. “Your name/organization will be listed in-store as an official Friend of Gay’s The Word and sponsor.”
Novelist Ali Smith told The Guardian, “It’d be a political, cultural, communal and human loss if it went [out of business].”
Author Edmund White commended the shop for keeping “gay titles on the shelves for years in a way no regular bookshop, even one with a gay section, would ever do.” He said, “It would be very sad to see it go.”
Author Sarah Waters said it “felt very empowering” to know the bookstore existed, and that “it is still important that there is a visible place for people to go.”
Assistant manager Uli Lenart told The Guardian that teenagers arrive at the store “on the verge of tears. This is a place where you can feel less alone.”