The petition to save St. Mark’s Bookshop has now reached nearly 44,000 names, and one of the latest celebrity supporters of the store is Salman Rushdie, who recently wrote a letter to Cooper Union President Jamshed Bharucha urging the school to decrease the bookshop’s rent by $5,000 a month, reports DNA Info. (He also tweeted the plea to his 88,000-some followers.)
“Like many admirers of the Cooper Union I have been very disturbed by the thought that you may force the St. Mark’s Bookshop to close by imposing rents on them which they cannot pay,” the author’s note stated.
“The St. Mark’s Bookshop is as much a New York institution as the Cooper Union is. I urge you not to make this irreversible cultural mistake.”
As the Atlantic Wire points out, “Rushdie’s voice carries particular resonance because he’s not only a high-profile author, he’s a neighborhood veteran who’s a regular speaker at the school.” The bookshop also seems to be a fan of Salman Rushdie. But can he help save it?
Cooper Square Committee president Joyce Ravitz, who initiated the petition, delivered it to Bharucha directly and told DNA Info that the Cooper Union president “felt they (the school) were a nonprofit and the bookstore was a for-profit, and they had a big [budget] deficient.” (Committee members also wrote and sang a song about saving the store at last week’s inauguration of Bharucha.) A decision has yet to be made regarding the store’s rent, with St. Marks’ owners set to meet with Cooper Union officials again today.
Writerly support and the signing of petitions is all well and good, but as we have pointed out before, if the 43,000-plus petition signers, not to mention Rushdie’s Twitter followers, would also buy books regularly, the bookstore would be far better able to afford whatever rent is being asked of them.
Get to shopping!