Saving Adobe Books

By Eva-Marie Hube on February 24, 2013
I was originally going to write a piece about the dash cam phenomenon in mother Russia this week and how an estimated one million people have them installed  in their cars due to police bribery, neglect, and skyrocketing car insurance policies, but I decided there was a more pressing, relevant, and definitely more local subject to cover. The driving etiquette of the former USSR will have to wait.
If you’ve lived in San Francisco long enough and consider yourself a book thumper, chances are you’ve heard of and or frequented Adobe Books. That signature color coded bookstore on sixteenth street? It almost looks like a front, if the front was trying to pass itself off as a botanical garden. When the light shines in the space and you’re curled up in a corner in one of the isles, book in lap, amongst the plants; you get disoriented for a minute, completely forgetting where you are. Since the store opened in 1989, I have no doubt that people have fallen under the same  spell. Not only has it been a refuge for literary purists but artists and musicians alike. The owner of Adobe, Andrew McKinley, installed a back room gallery in 2001 which has curated art shows as well as showcased live performances from bands considered fixtures in the community.
All that Adobe is and stands for is on the verge of disintegration. Like before, in 2010, the store is again in need of saving. This time, however, not only is McKinley fighting the decline in book sales, which has taken the lives of so many other independent bookstores around the city (we can thank ebooks and Amazon for this), but a new enemy- the escalating rent medium that is slowly hindering not only the residential market but also the commercial one. McKinley missed his chance of buying the building that houses the commercial space and the new landlord (as of 2010) is now increasing the rent by 20 percent.
Adobe and our community, which is rallying around one of its pillars, is fighting back in a unique way that will hopefully ensure sustainability in hopes to avoid another one of these scares three years from now. Adobe not only hopes to raise the funds to be able to pay the obnoxious asking price that is now the San Francisco price standard (Google/Facebook/Pinterest help us all), but to also turn it into a member based co-op. A more global, interactive, and inclusive angle just might be the ticket to preserve one of the last independent heavy hitters and you can contribute and learn all about the proposal here. They have 20 days left to raise their 60k goal, so it’s crunch time for donors.
If you really want to experience how strongly the neighborhood feels about this sanctuary of the written word, there just so happened to be a celebration and utmost display of affection and appreciation for Adobe last night.
Adobe Lives! A fundraiser kickoff party was hosted and promoted by one lovely Katie Conry along with a bevy of people who really give a shit. DJ Carnita of Hard French was be spinning records, Tartine and Rainbow Grocery fed the crowd quality treats, my uber stylish buddy Ashley Miller was selling vintage clothing alongside other vendors, and there were readings given by Marina Lazzara, Chris Carlsson, Maw Shein Win, and Sarah Wishby. For the concerned patron, it was a place to wine, dine, shop, listen to awesome tunes, and support a mom n’ pop establishment all in one place. Not bad for a Saturday night out on sixteenth street. Because between you and me, where and what else would you be doing on a Saturday night in the Mission that won’t make you regret your choices come Sunday morning?
I am a legal alien of German nationality. Convinced I am an alien of the extra terrestrial quality, or so I wish.I am convinced I have nine lives although I don't want to press the theory. I collect records, I hate Twitter. I don't stay in one place for very long. I am just waiting for the space ship to take me home. Take me to your dealer

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