Minimum wage increase forces closing of indie bookstore

Borderlands Books, a San Francisco independent bookstore, is closing because it cannot afford to pay the higher minimum wage imposed by the state of California. It announced on its website:

So it fills us with sorrow and horror to say that we will be closing very soon.

In November, San Francisco voters overwhelmingly passed a measure that will increase the minimum wage within the city to $15 per hour by 2018.  Although all of us at Borderlands support the concept of a living wage in principal and we believe that it's possible that the new law will be good for San Francisco -- Borderlands Books as it exists is not a financially viable business if subject to that minimum wage.  Consequently we will be closing our doors no later than March 31st....

The change in minimum wage will mean our payroll will increase roughly 39%.  That increase will in turn bring up our total operating expenses by 18%.  To make up for that expense, we would need to increase our sales by a minimum of 20%.  We do not believe that is a realistic possibility for a bookstore in San Francisco at this time.

Those of us who love books--and most of the writers and readers of this blog do--will be equally distressed to learn of this closing. It's not just McDonald's that will be impacted by the higher wage.

The website provides details, and more are available on the store's blog.

One bookstore closing doesn't seal the debate over higher minimum wages. But still its sad.

For information on my award-winning historical novel, "Madness: The War of 1812," visit: http://www.madness1812.com

Comments

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  • Dennis, I'm sure you are heartbroken as I am too, but the owner is falling on his sword for a good cause as he acknowledges.

    The read sad part of this story is that there aren't enough readers in Frisco, or for that matter, anywhere else, to support the small bookstore.

  • In reply to Aquinas wired:

    A free market explanation, is it?

  • In reply to Dennis Byrne:

    Yes, and another free market explanation is spelled Amazon.com.

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