July 1, 2015
Berkeley’s Revolution Books relocating with help from crowd-funding
by Nick Davies
Revolution Books, an institution in Berkeley, CA, is looking to move to a new location, and are hoping a crowd-funding campaign on Indiegogo will help them make the transition.
Emily Dugdale reports for Berkeleyside that the radical independent bookstore has, in the past year, been involved with a group of local merchants protesting the increasing rent in the area, accusing the city of “pricing out local small businesses.” They’re located in a complex under a parking garage, the Telegraph Channing Mall, and the new spot will still be in that mall, albeit closer to the University of California, Berkeley campus.
Larry Everest, an author and longtime volunteer at the store (which has an all-volunteer staff) says of the move, “Times are changing, and Revolution Books is needed more than ever. We all know what kind of role the UC Berkeley campus has played in world history, and we want to be closer to that.” He adds, “For anyone who is really concerned about the state of the world, and wants to explore some of the deepest challenges facing humanity, these kinds of questions are what we really dig into at Revolution Books.”
While Revolution won’t be moving far, store spokesperson Reiko Redmonde points out that the new space is “just a hallway” and is hoping that crowd-funding will help them cover the costs to turn it into a vibrant bookstore. The Indiegogo campaign has a goal of $20,000, with donations going to the installation of a new floor, new wiring and lighting, patching and painting, expanded stock, and a point-of-sale system.
Redmonde and Everest both acknowledge that part of the motivation to move is simply to ensure that the bookstore survives, but they also see opportunities to revitalize both their book selection and offerings for community events. Dugdale writes that Revolution will be expanding sections such as “the world history of revolution and communism, women and gender studies, police brutality, the history of black rights movements, and black history;” and Redmonde comments, “We’re really looking forward to that… Our bookstore seeks to keep being on the cutting edge of both revolutionary and radical history, fiction and science, while also being a place where people can come together to discuss and engage over the work.” She also says that the “high ceilings, natural light, and heightened acoustics” will be a boon to hosting a wide range of events, and that “we want to have something that fits all kinds of performances, including our political discussions and panels that we regularly host.”
As of this writing on Tuesday afternoon, Revolution has raised $9,340 of their $20,000 goal, already up more than $1,000 since Berkeleyside reported on the campaign on Monday. With seven days still left on the Indiegogo campaign, Redmonde is optimistic that they’ll hit their funding target.
Nick Davies is a publicist at Melville House.