Manhattan’s iconic Strand Bookstore at risk of closing, revenues plummet 70 percent

Photo by Todd Maisel

Strand Bookstore is calling for the help of all New Yorkers to keep its doors open and its bookshelves stocked after announcing it is suffering a 70 percent loss in revenue on Friday. 

“We need your help. This is the post we hoped to never write, but today marks a huge turning point in The Strand’s history,” read the nearly century-old bookstore’s post on Twitter.

The post includes a letter from third-generation owner Nancy Bass Wyden who spoke of the bookstore’s long history in its Manhattan neighborhood— standing as the last remaining original book shop from the famous “Book Row” on Fourth Avenue— and its past resilience through such struggles as the Great Depression to shifts towards online shopping. 

“We’ve survived just about everything for 93 years,” she wrote. “We are the last of the original 48 bookstores still standing from 4th Avenue’s “Book Row.” 

But they need the public’s assistance to make it through the ongoing pandemic, as funds from federal stimulus loans have dried out and a decline in foot traffic led to profits drastically less than what’s needed to sustain the iconic bookstore. 

“As I watched my grandfather and dad working side-by-side evaluating piles of books at the front door buying desk, never did I imagine that the store’s financial situation would become so dire that I would have to write friends and devoted customers for help,” Bass Wyden wrote. 

The bookstore’s call for help was met with an outpouring of support — enough to reportedly back up their website— and one author even offered a signed bookplate if followers buy books from the Strand. 

Others criticized Bass Wyden for her plea for support, bashing her for buying Amazon stocks, firing numerous employees before applying for a Paycheck Protection Plan loan and for being anti-union.