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City & State or ZIP Tonight, this weekend, May 5th...
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City & State or ZIP Tonight, this weekend, May 5th...
City & State or ZIP

Struggling Outwrite Bookstore issues plea for support

A long line formed outside Outwrite Bookstore when RuPaul visited last year. AJC Staff photo by Hyosub Shin

A long line formed outside Outwrite Bookstore when RuPaul visited last year. AJC Staff photo by Hyosub Shin

Outwrite Bookstore & Coffeehouse is struggling to keep things going and has issued a plea for support.

“Although our doors are still open, our sales have not been immune to the downturn in the economy and the impact technology has on how people buy and read books,” founder Philip Rafshoon said in an open letter to the community. “We’re realigning our business model, refocusing our products and services, and upgrading the store to meet the changing needs of our customers and the community. But we can’t do this without your help.”

The LGBT bookstore, which has been located for 15 years at the corner of Piedmont and 10th Street in Midtown, is asking its supporters to step up their purchases of books, CDs, gifts, jewelry and other merchandise and also to consider booking the coffeehouse lounge for business meetings and even pitch in as volunteer workers.

Outwrite hosts many author events. RuPaul was there last year. AJC Staff photo by Hyosub Shin

Outwrite hosts many author events. RuPaul was there last year. AJC Staff photo by Hyosub Shin

“Please let us know if you are willing to share your expertise in web design, social media, marketing, bookkeeping, finance, banking, retail management, retail sales, collections and legal services,” Rafshoon wrote. “We hope you agree that Outwrite is far more than ‘just another business’ but is truly a resource that the LGBT community and Atlanta cannot afford to lose and that we all need to help preserve.”

Founded in 1993 to serve Atlanta’s gay & lesbian community, Outwrite hosts a wide range of author events. Star Jones was there Tuesday signing “Satan’s Sisters” and Pearl Cleage was there earlier this month signing  ”Just Wanna Testify.” At 7:30 p.m. June 7, Steven Petrow will be there to sign “Complete Gay & Lesbian Manners.”

- Jennifer Brett/The Buzz/jbrett@ajc.com

42 comments Add your comment

[...] (In related news Outwrite says it is struggling and has issued a plea for support). [...]

Michael

May 26th, 2011
4:23 pm

Isn’t this symptomatic of the lgbt stores in general though? As choices become more mainstream, the bookstores (& publishing houses) have been closing in recent years as the industry powerhouses have diversified their offerings.

Kute-Afro

May 26th, 2011
4:26 pm

This bookstore is vital to the community. I have travel and will continue to this store to by my books, music and movies. Outwrite I got your back.

No Comment

May 26th, 2011
4:31 pm

Warren

May 26th, 2011
4:34 pm

“Pitch in as volunteer workers… share your expertise in web design, social media, marketing, bookkeeping, finance, banking, retail management, retail sales, collections and legal services,”

For FREE? While the owner still makes a profit? LOL Only if Outwrite became a non-profit community ran organization. Otherwise, my advise. Change your business model and take out a loan otherwise go out of business and let someone else open up shop in that corner spot.

Fred

May 26th, 2011
4:43 pm

I wonder if the AJC would run an article like this if it were a Christian bookstore?

BigStella

May 26th, 2011
4:44 pm

I agree with Warren. They are asking people to work for them for free so they can make a profit.

I like Outwrite, but my time and services are worth something. Outwrite is not going to give me a free book , free food or drinks.

Most of their stuff (ex., DVDs, CDs) are just way overpriced.

My advice lower your prices on those, become more of a cafe, sell more drinks (maybe get a alcohol license) and food or sell adult videos.

I am self employed and would never ask people to work for me for free.

wise old owl

May 26th, 2011
4:48 pm

too bad, so sad…… tough economic times- join the crowd.

Jeff

May 26th, 2011
4:56 pm

“We hope you agree that Outwrite is far more than ‘just another business’ but is truly a resource that the LGBT community and Atlanta cannot afford to lose and that we all need to help preserve.”

Way to go Warren. Have fun finding what you want at Borders. Or maybe Amazon will have a book signing for your favorite author? Thanks for supporting your community.

midtownblue

May 26th, 2011
4:57 pm

Yes, Fred, if Christian bookstores held the same social role that LGBT bookstores do. They never have.

Shannon

May 26th, 2011
5:10 pm

@Fred–to add to what midtownblue said, I wouldn’t be surprised if it were the singular Christian bookstore in the area. There are, however, quite a few of them. Not so for this bookstore.

Jennifer Brett

May 26th, 2011
5:38 pm

Fred,

Yes I would write an article about any struggling bookstore asking its supporters to help keep the doors open. I am a fan of the printed word.

Jennifer

John

May 26th, 2011
5:42 pm

The owner, Phillip Rafshoon, would NEVER consider doing anything for some other business if they made the same plea. His plea is 100% personally and financially motivated. Don’t ever doubt that. Can’t wait to see what goes in its place!

JohnF

May 26th, 2011
5:46 pm

It’s the same problem with all bookstores..it’s print media. Online and digital sales are where people go to purchase anything now.

vamak

May 26th, 2011
6:01 pm

Why can’t we comment on race stories on ajc.com?

Why do the gays get a privilege for their stories that Whites don’t get in stories about the ongoing and unstoppable black on white crime spree in Atlanta?

Why no opportunity to comment on why the civil rights leaders stay silent on black crime stories?

LydiasDad

May 26th, 2011
6:03 pm

Maybe everyone’s tired of supporting the in-your-face gay lifestyle… Finally. When you have commercials (Google), parades, protests (gay marriage), gay characters inserted in every show (Modern Family, etc.) and offensive crashing of church proceedings, people get fed up real quick. Close it down.

amy

May 26th, 2011
6:06 pm

@Jeff

well sure, you’re absolutely right. Warren would have difficulty doing any of those things if he isn’t being paid wages for his professional services. apt observation.

frankly, i’m surprised this business owner didn’t think about it: he’s asking his customer base to provide services for free, and then somehow expects them to patronize his for-profit business. with what, good will? pretty sure his landlord wouldn’t take a check for that.

no really. think about it.

Fred

May 26th, 2011
6:07 pm

Jennifer: That’s not the real Fred. I am. But I missed your article on the bookstore that closed here in Tucker………..

James

May 26th, 2011
6:08 pm

I’m gonna miss the bookstore but that’s the way it goes. This guy has some nerve asking for guilt ridden volunteers to come in and prop up his *privately owned for profit* business. Is this some kind of joke?

Lydias2Mommies

May 26th, 2011
6:19 pm

LydiasDad,

First-Your statement is a contradiction. Why would “supporters” be tired of “supporting” the lifestyle?? Doesn’t make much sense, does it?? I doubt very seriously that people like you have EVER supported a business such as OutWrite, therefore, your business will NOT be missed, because it was NEVER there.

Second-Like it or not, gay people aren’t going anywhere so get used to them being “inserted” EVERYWHERE. Get used to them not settling for being 2nd class citizens and demanding EQUAL (not SPECIAL) treatment, get used to them being your neighbors, family members (even tho you may NEVER think that would be possible), co-workers, and bosses. I’m sure you think that demanding EQUAL rights is “in-your-face”, and that’s your right to feel that way. Just please keep your hatred and ignorance to yourself. Thanks!!

Jennifer Brett

May 26th, 2011
6:31 pm

Dear Fred and the real Fred and any other Freds out there,

I did not hear anything about the bookstore you’re referring to issuing this sort of public plea. If I had that would have been a fine topic to blog about as well.

Jennifer

Will

May 26th, 2011
6:39 pm

Outwrite IS more than just another business. I’m guessing that most of the negative comments are from people who have never been in the store. It’s important the LGBT community rally around Outwrite as it reinvents itself. Who hasn’t ask for help at some point in their life? It’s not like he’s asking for cash donations–only the gift of people’s time and talents.

Lane

May 26th, 2011
6:44 pm

I just want to lend my support to ‘OutWrite’. Although I am straight, Christian, and a married Mom, I am of the belief that everyone should have a place/platform for their voices to be heard, and I know that this bookstore has been a cornerstone and safe haven for the LBGT community.

Sending blessings your way…

Andy

May 26th, 2011
6:45 pm

Lydia’s Dad needs to get informed. The general public is becoming more and more accepting of gays and lesbians. In fact, the most recent polling suggests the majority of Americans support gay marriage. LD may be uncomfortable with gay people and its clear he doesn’t like to see or think about them. What he can’t do is make them disappear. I’m sure it’s frightening to be LD since it’s clear he sees the world through the veil of prejudice and intolerance.

Mysticsheesh

May 26th, 2011
7:05 pm

I, like Lane, am a straight, Christian, married Mom. I have also shopped (and enjoyed coffee) at Outwrite. While it is definitely aimed at the LGBT community, there’s nothing to keep a straight person from going in and finding something interesting to read. BTW, not EVERY SINGLE piece of literature in there is gay-oriented. Finally, you guys keep mentioning all the profit the owner is making… apparently that ain’t the case or he wouldn’t have made the plea!

Atlantarama

May 26th, 2011
7:05 pm

LydiasDad,

You managed to twist the reason about the closing of a gay bookstore. Pathetic.

Jeff

May 26th, 2011
7:08 pm

@Amy

I hear what you’re saying, and that’s fine if it’s nothing more than just another business. But what Outwrite has provided for 15 years goes beyond a business — it’s community. It provides something in Atlanta that no other business provides. Besides, they’re not asking everyone to give free labor — just those who are so inclined and who appreciate the value that Outwrite brings to the community. I don’t know why the haters have to attack them for asking for help to make ends meet. Typical AJC blog. If you don’t want to donate your time to a local business, then don’t. Fortunately, there are others who will.

Atlantarama

May 26th, 2011
7:14 pm

I meant to say “possible closing” but with the state of the economy…well, you know.

redhousecat

May 26th, 2011
7:33 pm

I feel the best he can do is just hope the economy picks up a bit. His business is not the only one suffering; his clientele are suffering as well. Surely he realizes you cannot squeeze blood from a turnip. I supposed he could renegotiate his rent or find a cheaper storefront.

I think asking for volunteers is a bit tacky, but if some people are willing to do it, then they should not be condemned for doing so.

I’m sorry his business is struggling, but I’m also sorry about the other 90% of small businesses that are struggling as well. He’s in good company.

Slick Bic

May 26th, 2011
7:54 pm

I for one hope they do close. One less gay “thing” to promote this horrible lifestyle. How far is our society going to go with the disillusion that people have rights based on the way they “choose” to live their life. Did you know there is a group of pedophiles in Atlanta organizing based on their right to exist like everyone else because they were “born” that way. Makes you think…if the homos have this right, who’s next? I wonder how many people would support a Pedophile Bookstore?

Nathan

May 26th, 2011
7:57 pm

I love going to have coffee and bring my laptop to read online and do work. I always want to go to Outwrite, but the problem is I have to give my laptop bag to the cashier and leave all my work material or try to pull everything I need out….not that convenient so I go to Starbucks or Caribou…I know for a fact that’s why Caribou and Starbuck attracts more coffee drinkers.

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andesi

May 26th, 2011
8:02 pm

Definitely Not Me

Chris

May 26th, 2011
8:24 pm

Thank you Lydia’sTwo Mommies. You are absolutely right and it was well said. As for Lydia’s Dad, poor Lydia, it’s 2011 and she lives with Archie Bunker. This is the type of guy who’s child would probably do something tragic rather than speak or confide in dad.

Will Jones - Atlanta Jeffersonian Exegesis

May 26th, 2011
8:46 pm

What has the LGBT community done to raise awareness and outrage for the homosexual who came to the presidency hypocritically opposing gay marriage, was cheated into office exclusively by the Supreme Court’s Roman Catholic bloc, then welcomed his male prostitute/lover, James Guckert/”Jeff Gannon,” to his residence hundreds of times, with many “overnights?” The silence from the gay community was deafening about Bush’s hypocrisy and evil. Because he is “one of their own?”

LydiasGAP

May 26th, 2011
9:19 pm

Lydiasdad,

I hope your daughter grows up to be proud of her sexuality. I’ll support her :) . Can’t wait for her debut for Dykes on Bikes.

abortivepasseng

May 26th, 2011
10:39 pm

I paid $32.67 for a XBOX 360 and my mom got a 17 inch Toshiba laptop for $94.83 being delivered to our house tomorrow by FedEX. I will never again pay expensive retail prices at stores. I even sold a 46 inch HDTV to my boss for $650 and it only cost me $52.78 to get. Here is the website we using to get all this stuff, http://GoGetBids.com

Kat

May 27th, 2011
7:50 am

I don’t think the owner is seeking help to land a financial windfall here; it sounds like he is just trying to get by. Since the economy has affected most everyone, some folks (who didn’t realize the store was having troubles) might be out of work and could do some volunteer time. And, as the smart people know, volunteer work can lead to full-time employment when things turn around.

carla roqs

May 27th, 2011
8:20 am

vamak- what?????????????????????????????????????????????????

Nathan

May 27th, 2011
1:13 pm

@Will

So Will what shift will you be working for free?

Ted Pappas

May 29th, 2011
1:46 pm

Having known Philip when we lived in Atlanta, my wife and I both wish him the best. If we still lived there we certainly would volunteer in any way we could help.

Hmmm

May 31st, 2011
11:35 am

I just don’t understand these anti-LGBT comments. You can’t compare homosexuality to pedophilia. Homosexuality is between CONSENTING adults. And I don’t understand why the LGBT community offends you people. They aren’t telling YOU to be gay. Is your life affected by straight people you don’t know being together? No. And it’s not affected by gay relationships either. Just live your own damn life and stop worrying about which two people love each other. No one’s hurting you or anyone else by being gay.