Left Bank Books in the Central West End Is Asking for Your Help to Survive

Oct 29, 2020 at 10:49 am
Left Bank Books co-owners Jarek Steele and Kris Kleindienst with Spike, the shop cat. - THEO WELLING
Left Bank Books co-owners Jarek Steele and Kris Kleindienst with Spike, the shop cat.

The pandemic has been rough on businesses across the country, but independently owned shops are getting hit particularly hard. They often operate on small margins, so any dip in business can be catastrophic — but COVID-19 has brought almost unthinkable losses to a beloved local indie bookstore that has been operating on “sheer willpower” since March.

Left Bank Books (399 N. Euclid Avenue; 314-367,6731) says that the last two months of the year usually “account for one-third of our whole year's revenue,” but how the rest of this particular year will shape up is a big unknown because of the pandemic. As it is now, they say their numbers are “not sustainable” so they are asking for help to get through these hard times.

"With sales at an alarming low, and no additional Federal assistance in sight, there are not a lot of options," the store's owners write in a statement. "We’re doing everything we can with what we have. So I am asking you now, if you are at all able, to support us in generous numbers this holiday season."

More than just a place to find the latest hardcover, Left Bank Books has been a cultural hub since the business started in 1969. The shop is essential to the soul of St. Louis and letting it go would feel like someone cut out a big piece of our local heart. And when we think about what kind of world we want after this pandemic finally ends, it is a world that definitely includes Left Bank Books.

If you want to help them out you just have to do one thing: Find some way to give them a bit of money.

If you don’t need any books, you can just donate to the cause. But if you’re like us and you need twenty more books always, hit up Left Bank for your next new or pre-loved book purchase. Not only will you be keeping them in businesses, you’ll be keeping local people employed. And don’t worry, you don’t have to even go into the store — they’ll ship your purchase straight to your doorstep just like if you ordered it from one of the big evil guys.

But they don’t just sell books, y’all. Left Bank Books can cover you for all of your holiday shopping needs. No, seriously. They have everything. Just check out their online gift shop. It includes the usual t-shirts and tote bags that you can find at many bookstores, but they also offer prints, stickers, face masks, cross-stitch kits, mugs, postcards, funny socks and a large selection of other doo-dads and must-haves like badass enamel pins in styles that honor lefty favorites like Ruth Bader Ginsberg, libraries and voting.

So if you’re one of the lucky few with a bit of extra cash these days, buying from Left Bank Books is a great way to keep your money local and to keep a little bit of hope alive, too.

"The sooner you place your orders or come in to browse by appointment, the more certain you can be of finding what you want," the owners write. "And the more certain we can be of being able to celebrate our 52nd birthday with you next July."

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