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Can a new hybrid business model save longtime Menlo Park bookstore? (VIDEO)

By Erchi (Archer) Zhang | 21 Jun 2012

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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.”

 

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