We were incredibly upset when we heard that Borderlands Books was going to close, due to low bookstore margins combined with a rise in the local minimum wage. This would not only make San Francisco a way less cool place to live, but do great damage to the science fiction book world. So thank goodness there's a hope for a reprieve.

After a long and intense "town hall" meeting last week, Borderlands owner Alan Beatts has agreed to let people buy sponsorships at the store — for $100 a year, you get a number of as-yet-undetermined benefits, and you get to help keep a San Francisco institution going. According to this blog post, the current ideas for benefits include:

  • Reserved seating at author events
  • The ability to rent the cafe and / or bookstore outside of normal operating hours for private events at our cost (which is roughly $25 to $100 per hour)
  • Invitations to a quarterly gathering at the cafe where you can socialize with other sponsors, members of Borderlands' staff and occasional special guests
  • Access to preview sales of rare and collectable books whenever we make a large acquisition
  • The opportunity to purchase occasional items produced by us for sponsors and not offered to the general public (such as limited Ripley prints, chapbooks, and so forth)
  • A selection of unique apparel and accessories showing your status as a sponsor and not available to the general public
  • Invitations to sponsor-only events, like small gatherings with authors, exclusive writing workshops, and more

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I'm especially excited about the unique apparel, and also the writing workshops, which I would be excited to attend. Details are available at the Borderlands site, but basically you have to pay in person or via phone — they're not doing this via their website, unfortunately. If you can spare $100, it's well worth doing this to preserve a place to buy and celebrate science fiction and fantasy books. I still wear my Pandemonium Books T-shirt, from when that store nearly closed, with pride.