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07 February 2012 @ 09:51 am
Signal boost: Annie's Book Stop of Worcester  

Funding for: Creating jobs, website & community outreach

We are trying to save the last independent bookstore in one of New England's largest cities and collegiate centers. Funds generated through this Peerbackers project will be used in the next step in a plan that is already working. You can be a part of that plan.

Annie's Book Stop of Worcester has passed its critical first year of operations after a turnkey takeover in November 2010 from the prior owners, who had been in business for many years. Despite the challenges created by a horrid economy and the impact of the James Street Bridge closure from July through September of 2011, which cut off vital automobile and public transportation access, we have grown our sales and expanded our customer base.

We have the opportunity to continue going from strength to strength, and to expand our services to our clientele. To do that, we need your help.

Our loyal staff of knowledgeable booksellers currently consists of unpaid volunteers. They have stuck with this bookstore through thick and thin. They deserve to receive paychecks for their dedicated efforts to serve our current customers. They are instrumental in our hope to help new customers discover how well we can serve the bibliophiles of central Massachusetts and beyond, through our combined physical and online presence.

The city of Worcester deserves to benefit from the jobs that would be created by our employing these volunteers on a permanent basis, through the revenue generated and the lowering of the city’s and state’s unemployment rate.

Our customers, old and new, deserve to have the best selection of new and used books available, as well as access to the largest inventory of DOCTOR WHO and other British science fiction merchandise on the East Coast of the United States.

Our local and worldwide community of authors, artists, performers and creators deserve to have a venue, both physical and virtual, that showcases their works and talents. Many already call this bookstore home, and community outreach continues to occur to bring in others.

The publishing industry deserves to hear the good news of a success story in one little corner of the country and the Internet, rather than the constant bad news of storefront after storefront closing.

Help us continue to BE that success story. Thank you.

For your $5.00 pledge, you will receive a hand-written thank you note, signed by the owners and volunteers, and featuring artwork by local graphic novelist Bret M. Herholz.

For your $10.00 pledge, you will receive a hand-written thank you note, signed by the owners and volunteers, and featuring artwork by local graphic novelist Bret M. Herholz, as well as a collectible DOCTOR WHO postcard.

For a pledge of $25.00 or more, you will receive our hand-written thank you note, a grab bag of 5 used paperbacks, and a collectible DOCTOR WHO postcard.

For a pledge of $50.00 or more, you will receive our hand-written thank you note, 3 collectible DOCTOR WHO postcards, a grab bag of 10 used paperback books, and a randomly chosen DOCTOR WHO action figure.

For a pledge of $100.00 or more, you will receive our hand-written thank you note, a grab bag of ten used paperbacks, 5 collectible DOCTOR WHO postcards, a randomly chosen DOCTOR WHO action figure, and a $20.00 gift certificate, which may be used in-person or online.

For a pledge of $250.00 or more, you will receive our hand-written thank you note, a grab bag of twenty used paperbacks, ten collectible DOCTOR WHO postcards, a radio-controlled six-inch Davros figure from Product Enterprises, and a $50.00 gift certificate, which may be used in-person or online.

For a pledge of $500.00, you will receive our hand-written thank you note, a grab bag of fifty used paperbacks, an assortment of twenty collectible DOCTOR WHO postcards, and a radio-controlled 12-inch Dalek figure from Product Enterprises.

Patty Cryan, Owner
Annie's Book Stop of Worcester

Patricia M. Cryan is, by turns, a retailer who never sleeps, a walking library of children’s literature, a fan of hard science, harder science fiction, and literary horror tales, and a freelance editor who makes strong folk cry at regular intervals.

She has been active in bookselling since 1987; her first bookstore job was at Reader's Market, a discount outlet for the Waldenbooks chain. From June 1990 until September 1996, she worked at Children's Book World in Guilderland, NY, and then relocated to Massachusetts. She became the Children's Department Head in October of 1996 at Tatnuck Bookseller & Sons. She transferred to their Purchasing Division in May of 1999, where she remained until February 2003, when she chose to pursue a career in freelance editing. She maintained a keen interest in bookselling and kept abreast of the field through contacts in the book trade.

Patricia began volunteering at her local Annie's Book Stop in August of 2008, and took over its existing operations in November 2010. Since then, she has expanded its focus beyond the traditional used books and trade-in traffic it had previously relied upon.

She has been a member in good standing of The New England Children’s Bookselling Advisory Council and the New England Independent Booksellers Association since 1999.

Since 1986, she also has also served [and continues to serve] as General Partner for Mike’s Comics - http://www.mikescomics.com - a mail order and Internet company established in 1976, which carries comic books, audio dramas, science fiction and fantasy books and collectibles, roleplaying game supplies, fantasy greeting cards, and much, much more.

Questions may be directed to Patricia via e-mail at anniesbookstopworcester@gmail.com.
Patty Cryanp_m_cryan on February 7th, 2012 04:06 pm (UTC)
Thank you, Janet.
Tiger Lily the Ginger Cattigerbright on February 7th, 2012 05:10 pm (UTC)

I know Annie's Book Stop as a crappy chain of used bookstores, but it does say "under new management."
Edited to add: http://www.anniesbooks.com/locations.html

I wish someone had done this with Tatnuck Bookseller, a truly amazing bookstore in Worcester that closed around 5? years ago. I should investigate their Westborough location sometime.

Edited at 2012-02-07 05:12 pm (UTC)
Adrian Turtleadrian_turtle on February 8th, 2012 05:08 pm (UTC)
It makes me wonder what "independent bookstore" means. Many people think of a small local chain, or a loosely-connected franchise, as being more independent than some of the big stores that are powerful enough to single-handedly push the market around. (Do small-scale online sellers become less independent if they work with Amazon? Or Ebay?) The same connections that make them more stable, and make it easier to start the business, tend to make the stores less purely independent.

Annie's Book Stop may well deserve our support. I don't live in Worcester and have never shopped for books there, so I don't know what kind of asset they are to the community. I'm just not sure "independence" is the criteria we should be using. (I'm more impressed by the fact that it's led by somebody who was involved with Children's Book World in Guilderland, and later with a bookstore you say used to be "truly amazing.")
Tom the Alien Cattomtac on February 9th, 2012 12:44 am (UTC)
Thanks for posting this, Janet!

I was raised in the area, and remember "Annie's Book Swap". Pretty good idea (bring in old books, get others to take), but the ones I looked at a couple of decades ago didn't have a good selection of SF.

I see now from the web site that (1) it is both "Annie's Book Swap" and "Annie's Book Stop" and there is no difference, and (2) it is partly a volunteer operation (wow, but don't know how that works), and (3) it is not a traditional "chain" but independent stores under a franchise umbrella of sorts.

I suspect that what hurts the Worcester store as much as anything is that there are other Annie's in West Boylston, and South Grafton, and Northboro, not too far away. The stores in Massachusetts are all affected by how close or far away New Hampshire is (since folks easily drive to NH to avoid sales tax).

But for a store like this to co-exist in a world full of Waldens and Barnes&Noble, they have to offer something the big chain can't provide. If anyone can, I would expect this person, Patty Cryan, can do it. Maybe she can provide a non-corporation atmosphere for folks.

(I didn't know Tatnuck booksellers. My all time favorite was Ephraim's Book Store, right on Worcester Common; a high point was in high school when I bought a set of books, and Mr. Ephraim himself talked to me about what he knew about the author. If they ever made a movie about it, he could be played by Charles Durning.)

I'll pass the link to my Worcester friends online, maybe they can tell me what's going on up there.
browngirl on February 7th, 2012 07:11 pm (UTC)
*makes a note for when I have money*