Can a new hybrid business model save longtime Menlo Park bookstore? (VIDEO)
What will the future bookstore look like?
Kepler’s Books has operated as an independent bookstore in Menlo Park for 57 years, offering local communities a broad selection of books and numerous book signings. But in the last decade, with the rise of online retailers and electronic books, the store has struggled to stay afloat.
After a temporary closure in 2005, and facing another this year, Clark Kepler, the son of the bookstore’s founder Roy Kepler handed the store to Praveen Madan, owner of a San Francisco bookstore called The Booksmith.
Madan’s new business model will divide the company in two: a for-profit bookstore and a nonprofit organization dedicated to author events and literacy programs.
The new model demands community investment — approximately $1 million dollars. But Madan remains hopeful, writing on his LinkedIn profile that he is “building the prototype community bookstore for the 21st century.”