The Bookshop Darlinghurst, one of the few LGBTQI bookshops operating in Australia, has sent out an appeal to ensure their survival after experiencing a “horror summer sales season.”
In an open appeal published this week, The Bookshop Darlinghurst admitted that Australia’s recent bushfire crisis, as well as the current Coronavirus pandemic and the predicted economic recession following, has had severe impacts on its business operations.
With fewer visits from international and interstate customers, as well as the closure of businesses on Oxford Street and the Darlinghurst area, The Bookshop Darlinghurst needs the communities help now more than ever.
“It is not easy to ask, but we need our LGBTIQ+ community and also our local community to rally around and support us if we are to survive this wave of unusual external events,” the appeal reads.
To incentivise shoppers and generate money quickly, the store will be running a post-Mardi Gras clearance sale to try and generate some money quickly.
They’re currently offering a 20 per cent discount off all full priced titles in-store and online, as well as a 30 per cent additional discount off the marked sale price of all the books in our Upstairs Sale Room.
Manager of the The Bookshop, Graeme Aitken, told Star Observer that while the community has shown overwhelming support since the appeal was released, he and his co-workers are still bracing for fewer shoppers in the coming months.
“We’ve had a huge amount of support in the last 24 hours,” he said.
“The sales that we had yesterday were like ten times then what we had before. It’s quite colossal. January and February were very poor sales-wise, the worst we’ve ever had in our history.
“Usually there are a lot of international and interstate tourists and the summer months are normally our most buoyant months. For them to go to being the worst we’ve ever had, it was very shocking, and it’s made everything difficult. Unfortunately, that will continue, and we have to keep afloat.”
Aitken affirmed that The Bookshop Darlinghurst does not just represent the history and heritage of Sydney’s LGBTQI community, but the entirety of Sydney’s population as well.
Aitken also noted the critical role that The Bookshop played as a community support system throughout the LGBTQI rights movements of the ’80s, ’90s and noughties.
The Bookshop Darlinghurst also served as an information centre that regularly provided the public with advice during the HIV/AIDS crisis of the ’80s. A history that Aitken, and his co-workers, hope isn’t lost to the ravages of time.
“If Sydney loses The Bookshop, it’ll lose a piece of itself,” he said.
“It’s important that LGBTQI bookshops keep running because I’ve been here for 30 years, the shop has been here 38 years, my colleague Noel has been here 18 years, Les who founded it has been here from the beginning – that’s an incredible breadth of knowledge and heritage that we all possess.
“If that knowledge and heritage is lost, it’s gone. We were there when the concept of coming-out and questions of identity and information about HIV/AIDS wasn’t freely available. We’ve serviced the community through some of the biggest crises we’ve ever faced, and we want to be there as things started to get better.”
207 Oxford Street, Darlinghurst