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Outwrite bookstore has closed for good

A long line formed outside Outwrite Bookstore when RuPaul visited. AJC file photo

A long line formed outside Outwrite Bookstore when RuPaul visited. AJC file photo

The final chapter has ended at Outwrite Bookstore & Coffeehouse. It’s not a happy ending.

“We regret to inform you that effective January 26, 2012, Outwrite Bookstore and Coffeehouse is closed for business,” owner Philip Rafshoon said in an email. “For over 18 years, we have been privileged to serve Atlanta residents and welcome visitors from across America and around the world. We sincerely thank you for your patronage.”

The Midtown landmark sounded the alarm some time ago, alerting patrons to its financial woes and asking for help. While many people responded, even volunteering at the store to help keep its doors open, the efforts were unable to surmount Outwrite’s predicament.

“Unfortunately, we have run out of time and money to make that transformation,” Rafshoon wrote.

The store has hosted numerous author signings and other events through the years. Appearances by authors including RuPaul, Star Jones and CNN’s Don Lemon drew crowds, but special events weren’t able to sustain the business.

“As an independent bookstore and coffeehouse focused on the LGBT community, Outwrite has served as a symbol of strength and diversity in this city; and we have helped create a vibrant, pedestrian environment in Midtown,” Rafshoon wrote. “Our community has made an incredible amount of progress in the past 18 years and we are proud to have been part of that progress. All of us at Outwrite believe in the strength of our community and you will continue to see us working to strengthen and enrich it. While it is a challenging economy and the bookselling industry is rapidly evolving, there is still a need for neighborhoods with a strong LGBT presence and independent bookstores serving communities throughout the world.”

He ends on a grateful note:

“Thanks to all of you who made Outwrite the special place it has been over the past 18 years. Thank you to all who came in on a regular basis, showing your commitment to supporting independent, local businesses. And thank you to all of the authors, poets, artists, musicians, volunteers, and activists, who have entertained, educated and energized us: your contributions have highlighted the strength, beauty, vitality, and creativity of our lives and changed the face of Atlanta. Thank you for making our community a better place.”

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

72 comments Add your comment

Sher Lock

January 26th, 2012
11:50 am

Does LGBT stand for lesbian gay bi-sexual transgender?

Ronnie

January 26th, 2012
11:59 am

I’ve been going there for years. I didn’t realize that it was a gay bookstore. I guess now that I think about it, maybe, yeah it did seem kind of that way.

justin

January 26th, 2012
12:07 pm

Ronnie

January 26th, 2012
11:59 am

I’ve been going there for years. I didn’t realize that it was a gay bookstore. I guess now that I think about it, maybe, yeah it did seem kind of that way.

How could you not know? And what do you mean by “yeah it did seem kind of that way”?

I often shopped there for books and attended signings there. It will be missed.

george

January 26th, 2012
12:10 pm

my wife and i would often stop by on trips to atlanta because we appreciated the friendly and professional service we received. i don’t see how any independent bookstores can compete when amazon insists that it not be required to collect sales tax (unlike say walmart, target, dell, etc.) and even insists that it will not set up distribution centers in states which want them to actually comply with the sales tax regulations independent bookstores, and other big box retailers for that matter must.

Mr Fernwell

January 26th, 2012
12:13 pm

@Sher Lock – Google it and find out

Ronnie

January 26th, 2012
12:13 pm

Hey, don’t read to far into it. I just got to thinking that looking back there were maybe a few things there geared to the gay community. I didn’t realize at the time. Gee, don’t have such a chip on your shoulder. Calm down.

Mike in Marietta

January 26th, 2012
12:13 pm

Perhaps Ronnie didn’t see all the books with “beefcake” on their covers or all the rainbow paraphernalia. Outwrite will be missed.

Gary

January 26th, 2012
12:23 pm

Wow, never thought I would see the demise of The Poster Hut and Outwrite. I’ll never forget when I took my kid for the first time to Outwrite.

Chad

January 26th, 2012
12:41 pm

Met Ellen’s Mom there many years ago…

Amazon!

January 26th, 2012
12:42 pm

just buy all the books you need on amazon–cheap and fast!

Fred

January 26th, 2012
12:42 pm

Given the support that the LGBT community gives to openly LBGT businesses something just doesn’t seem on the up and up about this. Yeah I’ve read all the feel good stories and the testimonials about how great and wonderful they were but they are still closed. Why? The Book Nook is rocking the Casbah and they don’t have the homosexual hook.

Oh well, hate to see any business close.

wendell

January 26th, 2012
12:43 pm

The AJC’s very own “C-VIV” has confirmed that Outwrite is relocating to Manitoba.

He is going with them.

Saddened

January 26th, 2012
1:05 pm

As a member of the community that Outwrite served so well for 18 years, this is a sad day for me. There are few places we can go to have a cup of coffee and hold hands with our partner while browsing books and not have tons of folks staring at us. It was a place that I felt safe, and appreciated. A home away from home. I happily paid more for the products instead of buying online, just to have a safe welcoming environment.

Troglodyke

January 26th, 2012
1:15 pm

What? 13 comments in and no screeds from “Christians” about how gays are going to hell? No bible verses? No prayers?

What is the blog world coming to? Maybe it’s growing up!

Outwrite is a casualty of the economy, as many stores have been. Retail is changing, like it or not. I like getting books cheaply, but patronizing local stores is good for the community.

Finally!!

January 26th, 2012
1:24 pm

Its a business that sells books, books are cheaper online, better variety, don’t make it sound like it was the only place in ATL to buy books, also if you are just going to focus on LGBT market you have sealed your fate long ago. Typical slanted AJC article.

Discount Guru

January 26th, 2012
1:27 pm

Any word on a fire sale?

Quick Work Break

January 26th, 2012
1:29 pm

Heck, they outlasted Borders! Pretty good, I’d say.

LMAO

January 26th, 2012
1:30 pm

@ Ronnie – you must be blind, or very naive. LOL

Ms.Simon

January 26th, 2012
1:32 pm

C

January 26th, 2012
1:37 pm

Hate to see any local owned business close it’s doors.

Lindy

January 26th, 2012
1:38 pm

I’ll never forget my 1st visit, it was for an Ann Coulter book signing. Will be sadly missed!

Bless Capitalism

January 26th, 2012
1:39 pm

IF Gays have all the money why are they not buying books ? The store because irrelevant in the market place. Same reason you see the video stores disappearing too.

Cate

January 26th, 2012
1:41 pm

:( I would have gone there more often were it not for the 45 minute drive. It was a cool place.

Boywonder

January 26th, 2012
1:42 pm

Rob Benson

January 26th, 2012
1:48 pm

As a gay man I can tell you one thing about that place I won’t miss. A lot of impressionable young men and teens would go there to check out the gay scene for the first time and too often there were a host of skeevy older guys hanging out there just waiting to prey on them. That used to really bother me when I would go there. Otherwise it will be missed.

Grady Gram no more

January 26th, 2012
1:58 pm

As an avid reader, it is sad to me to hear of any bookstore closing. Having said that, I now own a Kindle, and I haven’t bought a regular book since Christmas. I always bought books everywhere I went, and have thousands in my collection. I resisted getting a kindle, but was gifted with one, and I love it so much, I would have bought one years ago if I had realized how much I would enjoy one. So I do have mixed emotions, but I guess books are going to go the same way the music did. I seldom buy CDs, although I have hundreds of them, as well as record albums, and tapes. Instant gratification is the keyword now. I can read, or listen to, anything i want at the touch of a few buttons. The world is changing, folks, so put your thinking caps on and think of other things you can do to serve your community needs. Gathering places are always going to be needed. We can buy anything on line, but you cannot buy friendship and camaraderie.

Daryl-Atlanta

January 26th, 2012
2:48 pm

Several earlier reports indicated that the location’s rent was being increased to an amount that made it impossible for Outwrite’s business plan/model to succeed. A guess might suggest that the only other place where the store could have moved and succeeded would have been to Ansley Mall. Apparently that was not an option either. Outwrite’s owner, Philip Rafshoon is a pretty smart/savvy guy and I’m sure if he could have found a way for the store to survive and be viable, he would have. Thanks to Phillip and his crew for 18+ years of fun and quality service since the early days at Midtown Promenade to now.

CTW

January 26th, 2012
2:57 pm

Rob Benson: I know what you mean, that always erked me as well.

However, Outwrite just wasnt a bookstore; it was a place where the LGBT community could come out, be themselves, hold hands with their partners without ridicule or the stares of other people. I was not a weekly patron (being in the Army changed that) but I do feel saddened by the store’s closing. Hopefully Midtown’s LGBT friendly atmosphere won’t change all that much.

Scott

January 26th, 2012
3:10 pm

GOOD RIDDANCE DEVIANTS!!!!

Hot Chick

January 26th, 2012
3:10 pm

how come lesbian women are not that hot? what gives?

vahi resident

January 26th, 2012
3:19 pm

Won’t be missed

Reality

January 26th, 2012
3:19 pm

This has nothing to do with sexual orientation, and everything to do with the perfect storm of (1) the immediate popularity of electronic books, (2) Obama’s sad economy and (3) the predictable success of Amazon. ‘Nuff Said.

really

January 26th, 2012
3:21 pm

@Hot Chick

The same reason all heterosexual women aren’t!

Ms Magnolia

January 26th, 2012
3:21 pm

Wow..I would visit during E Lynn Harris book tours. Sorry to see the store closing

Just sayin'

January 26th, 2012
3:24 pm

@ Hot Chick — Because they don’t wear make up.

Scotty boy

January 26th, 2012
3:44 pm

Scott is obviously a closet case.

Heterosexual Female

January 26th, 2012
3:54 pm

This store will be missed. It has been a symbol of what I loved about living in Midtown. Diversity and acceptance.

Whatever...

January 26th, 2012
3:56 pm

Lots of businesses have closed in Obama’s economy. Why should this one be on the ajc electronic front page? How is this news? This is another example of the ajc’s liberal bias and why it is staring extinction in the face itself. Note to the editors: If a bookstore that panders to the fringe left goes out of business, can a newspaper that panders to the fringe left be far behind?

jimmie

January 26th, 2012
3:59 pm

Hey Trog..justice is coming for GLBT..this is just the start. Repent

ATL Native

January 26th, 2012
4:05 pm

You obviously dont get the picture: Outwrite was the ONLY LGBT bookstore in the Atlanta region; that’s why its news. If the only Christian bookstore in Atlanta were closing, I’m sure it would be in the paper as well. Atlanta has lost one of the small handful of places LGBT people have to go for a quiet evening.

Troglodyke

January 26th, 2012
4:06 pm

Jimmie, prove it.

Convenient for you that you can’t, right? Whew!

Your religious beliefs are irrelevant to what happens in the real world. And your comments here prove that you really have nothing to offer of value, so scoot on along.

Chaz

January 26th, 2012
4:07 pm

Where do the lipstick lesbian women hang out?

TruthBe

January 26th, 2012
4:24 pm

Sorry for the owners finances, but it is probable for the good. Since Homosexuality is a Sin according to GOD. JESUS CHRIST the LORD thy GOD said “hate the sin and love the sinner”. JESUS never said to embrace sinful behavior.

CJ

January 26th, 2012
4:25 pm

Sad that this landmark is closing. Lord God, please do not allow another trendy burger restaurant to open in its place!

Just like every Starbucks location that has closed: what kills the business are loafers who don’t spend any money. You can’t sit around all day, read, and sip coffee and expect the place to stay open. They have to turn tables just like a restaurant.

Whatever...

January 26th, 2012
4:28 pm

Well I don’t dawn the doors of Christian bookstores either (or Jewish, Muslim, Wiccan or any other religons, but thanks for showing your bias) but I would still question why it would be news.

Tony S.

January 26th, 2012
4:37 pm

Hey boys, I hope those broads over at that commie feminist bookstore in L5P didn’t have anything to do with this.

Rich Black

January 26th, 2012
4:39 pm

I love Gay people!

Correction

January 26th, 2012
4:54 pm

@ATL Native said: “Outwrite was the ONLY LGBT bookstore in the Atlanta region; that’s why its news”

I think the people at CHARIS BOOKS will be pretty surprised to hear that!

ATL Native

January 26th, 2012
5:09 pm

…….comment taken and disregarded LOL….where the hell is Charis Books at??

TruthBe

January 26th, 2012
5:10 pm

Will, Please do not mock JESUS CHRIST the LORD thy GOD. You have been warned by a friend. GOD doesn’t appreciate being mocked. Repend and be forgiven of your sins and sinful behavior like the rest of us sinners. GOD bless you.