- Initial Press Release to Media -- 11/10/2016
- Press Release to DIESEL-Oakland Mailing List -- 11/11/2016
- "Changes in the Works for Oakland's DIESEL, A Bookstore," Shelf Awareness -- 11/11/2016
- "Diesel bookstore to be reborn as East Bay Booksellers," San Francisco Chronicle -- 11/11/2016
- "Oakland: DIESEL bookstore plans to change owners, name," East Bay Times -- 11/15/2016
- "What It Takes To Open a Bookstore," New York Times -- 11/29/2016 [Note: this article doesn't mention EBB by name, but Brad features briefly. It is, however, a wonderful review of Greenlight Bookstore's community lending success, which we and several other stores around the country have emulated.]
Frequently Asked Questions
* Why does DIESEL want to change ownership? Alison Reid and John Evans (the owners of DIESEL, A Bookstore -- in Oakland, Brentwood and Larkspur) are right now only looking to sell the Oakland store to one person, and that's Brad Johnson. Lots of reasons can be stated, but they all basically boil down to their recognition of themselves (as booksellers) in him. He is passionate and smart about the role in a way they respect, and they think he will carry DIESEL's legacy forward in a vibrant, new way.
* Why the change of name to East Bay Booksellers? DIESEL's other two locations are not on the market, and will thus be operating unchanged in the event Brad secures funding to buy the Oakland location. Therefore, the need for a new name. East Bay Booksellers is a declaration of identity -- that where we are matters as much as what we do. You won't meet many people as passionate about this relationship between place and profession as Brad.
* How much money are you hoping to raise through Community Lenders? DIESEL is known throughout the East Bay (and the bookselling world in general) as having an impeccably curated, diverse collection of books. East Bay Booksellers will be no different in this regard. We hope always to have the books you come in looking for, but our biggest pleasure is when you discover something you didn't even know existed. In our experience, it takes about $200,000, for the inventory and proper capitalization.
* Why don’t you just use Kickstarter or IndieGoGo? While many of our great friends in bookselling have gone this route, we want the bulk of our fundraising to come via loans we will repay. We feel this instills a greater sense of investment in East Bay Booksellers not simply to exist, but actively to thrive in our community as a viable business.
* Why is there a minimum loan amount? Efficiency, in time- and resource-management, is one of the keys to success in small business. Administering too many small loans would quickly become a burden in terms of staff time and resources. Having a minimum loan of $1000 means that we’re dealing with a smaller number of somewhat larger loans. One suggestion for those eager to lend but without the present resources to do so: pool your resources with others and share the interest profits -- note: there must be a single person/entity to sign the loan documents. (Details on this arrangement are up to you! We'll stock books about relationships, too.)
* Why is there a range for the interest rate? The maximum and minimum rates for the loan reflect the Applicable Federal Rate (AFR) -- the minimum interest rate for a legal loan -- and the prime rate. The interest rates offered range from 1.5% (just above the current AFR) to 4% (just above the current prime). This allows each lender to choose if they’d like to make a loan that is more philanthropic (less interest for EBB to repay) or geared toward a larger return on their investment.
* Why do repayments start after a year? Though we're set up nicely, given DIESEL's long run and existing customer base, the first year of any new business has its share of challenges: not least being the shifting of accounts, legal fees, cosmetic personal touches, etc. Building in a year’s grace period gives us a chance to get on our feet before loan payments kick in.
* Are there any formal incentives / rewards to loaning? First and foremost, you have solidified the place and role of a bookstore in your community. Independent businesses in general are a bonafide boon to a local economy, but the best bookstores are proven cultural goods. They are sounding boards for some. Safe places for others. Liberating zones of exploration, for everybody. But you're asking about something more readily tangible. Though we're not going to systemize a pre-set Thank You for our lenders, you should expect a bounty of creative gratitude: e.g., coupons; discount parties; author dinners; guaranteed seating at ticketed events. We believe gratitude should be kind of spontaneous.
* Where are these business plans and loan papers I've been hearing about? Ask, and you will receive! Email Brad@ebbooksellers.com, and he will send them along ASAP.
* When is the deadline to become a Community Lender? For some reason we thought Valentine's Day (February 14, 2017) seemed appropriate.
* I've looked over these documents, and I'm in! What's next? That's fantastic news! The best next step is to let us know much you intend to loan. We will not be signing loan documents until January 2017, but these informal (non-binding) pledges are key to us knowing and discussing how we are progressing. This is all part of the "conversation is key" aspect we keep going on about.
* I'm not in a position to participate in community lending. Can I still help make this happen? Your enthusiasm means everything, and can help us find eyeballs and ears of people we otherwise might not on our own. Sign up for our mailing list ... Follow us on Twitter ... Like us on Facebook ... Share news of what we're up to on all your social platforms (even face-to-face!). In short: keep in touch!