ELK GROVE, Calif. — In an age where Amazon and other large companies has pushed small bookstores to the brink of extinction, Elk Grove's sole bookstore owner said she plans to stick around for decades.
'A Seat At The Table' owner Emily Autenrieth said they're promoting the store's Save Our Store sponsorship program as an additional source of income that helps keep the bookstore alive.
"Our community was truly in need of locally rooted places where people could feel safe, see themselves represented, learn about each other and heal loneliness," she told ABC10. "This kind of community and connection cannot be found online at all, especially not in spaces owned by corporations and driven by algorithms."
In recent years. several bookstores across Northern California have shut down because of dropping revenue and rising e-book sales.
Initially having about 30 sponsors, Autenrieth said they've recruited about one dozen more people since hosting a sponsors mixer event Aug. 23. The sponsorship program comes with four tier levels.
- (Monthly Sponsor) $50 per month: This tier comes with one free paperback book of your choice per month, and a free brewed coffee or tea every day you visit the store.
- (Sparkle Sponsor) $200 per year: This tier comes with free exclusive Sponsor Mixers, reserved seating at author events and select Friday Night events like First Friday, Open Mic, Poetry Night, etc.
- (Shine Sponsor) $500 per year: This tier comes with all the Sparkle benefits, along with one free private after-hours rental per year of the book store (based on availability, reservation required).
- (Rainbow Sponsor) $1,000 per year: This tier comes with free conference room rentals throughout the year, two free private after-hours event rentals and all of the Shine benefits.
The bookstore's business manager Amanda Scott said they are hoping for more corporate and nonprofit sponsors who would be interested in not only supporting the bookstore, but using the conference rooms and after-hours rentals for employee activities.
They can discuss bulk discounts at the Rainbow Sponsor level, she said.
"We just had our first sponsorship mixer and everybody had a great time. A documentary crew came out and filmed some of our celebration, interviewed some of our sponsors and really captured what our program is trying to do," Scott told ABC10. "It was a feel-good night."
Though Autenrieth said both bookstores and mission-driven businesses are not safe bets in American capitalism, community bookstores are needed for the spaces they provide.
"We are proud to be an inclusive third space in Elk Grove and the greater Sacramento area and our greatest goal is to continue to offer this essential service to our community and continue to fulfill our mission," she said.
Click here to check out 'A Seat At The Table' bookstore's Save Our Store sponsorship program.