LBGT BOOK STORE Closure is a what?


Retired_Can_Soldier
+1
#1
The slow, tragic death of the LGBT publishing industry

The closure of the oldest LGBT bookstore in the country is a grim sign for the future of an invaluable industry

Steve Berman (external - login to view)



Giovanni’s Room in Philadelphia is the oldest and possibly largest LGBT bookstore in the nation. And now, after four decades, it’s closing. This news should make everyone involved in the business of LGBT literature — publishers, editors, authors, reviewers, and, of course, readers — pause and consider what this means for the future of their industry.


I have been close to Ed Hermance, the owner of Giovanni’s Room, for many years. In my 20s, I was a frequent customer of the bookstore, taking the train from southern New Jersey to purchase books and magazines. In my mid-30s, while attending graduate school at Rutgers-Camden, I worked at the store. Somewhere in-between, I started Lethe Press, and have sold many books to Ed over the years. I think he harbored a dream that I would one day buy the store from him. But in the 21st century, the thought of owning a bookstore was a daunting one — news of such stores closing across the country was a common article in the pages of “Publishers Weekly.” No, I hoped Ed, when he did decide to retire, would find someone who could devote time to the shop not as a publisher or an author but as a devoted reader and eager bawd of LGBT books, pressing important titles into the hands of customers.


Now the sad news is that Giovanni’s Room will be closing. There will be one fewer LGBT bookseller in a major metropolitan city that has a smattering of gay bars and nightclubs (Grindr cannot serve you drinks or host drag shows), a newspaper, the Philadelphia Gay News, that is thinner than a comb-over. Read More (external - login to view)


I`m not sure I understand how a group that wants mainstream recognition would not endeavor for acceptance by becoming part of society rather than clutching to exclusion. Would it not be better to go to a bar that is mixed with straights and gays rather than exclusively gay. Would that not be better for equality. Same thing with Literature, there are plenty of gay writers, why can they not simply write in the specific genre. Is it not better to be available on amazon or in Coles than in some exclusive little bookstore.
 
gerryh
+2
#2
Couldn't agree more RCS, unfortunately, even with all their cry's for "equality", they are still too exclusionary.
 
QuebecCanadian
#3
The store is closing like any other small business regardless of what it sells or to whom. It's like the corner hardware store. If someone can find it cheaper elsewhere, that's where they go. It's sad when a local establishment closes after many years but with the cost of everything rising, people look for the deal.
 
Tecumsehsbones
+1
#4
Quote: Originally Posted by Retired_Can_SoldierView Post

I`m not sure I understand how a group that wants mainstream recognition would not endeavor for acceptance by becoming part of society rather than clutching to exclusion. Would it not be better to go to a bar that is mixed with straights and gays rather than exclusively gay. Would that not be better for equality. Same thing with Literature, there are plenty of gay writers, why can they not simply write in the specific genre. Is it not better to be available on amazon or in Coles than in some exclusive little bookstore.

Which is the surest proof of all that you're a straight white man and at least vaguely Christian.

The short answer is that people in our sub-cultures find things in our sub-cultures that are good. We fear that by coming "included," we'll lose the good with the bad. It's an awkward balance.

Well, there's also the fact that we don't entirely trust the straight white male Christians. Can you really blame us?
 
JamesBondo
#5
Ofcourse it is a sad day for LGBT, those bigots need to accept the reality that it is now LGBTQ.
 
captain morgan
#6
Quote: Originally Posted by TecumsehsbonesView Post

Which is the surest proof of all that you're a straight white man and at least vaguely Christian.

The short answer is that people in our sub-cultures find things in our sub-cultures that are good. We fear that by coming "included," we'll lose the good with the bad. It's an awkward balance.

Well, there's also the fact that we don't entirely trust the straight white male Christians. Can you really blame us?

It appears that the demographic representing this sub-culture is not supporting those elements that provide for their uniqueness.

Non-action is ironically resulting in their losing the good and bad
 
Tecumsehsbones
+1
#7
Quote: Originally Posted by captain morganView Post

It appears that the demographic representing this sub-culture is not supporting those elements that provide for their uniqueness.

Non-action is ironically resulting in their losing the good and bad

I don't disagree. As I said, it's an awkward balance. Another example. . . segregation in the United States produced some truly outstanding black colleges like Fisk, Temple, Emory, and Howard (often called the black Harvard). These colleges are now struggling as the cream of young black scholarship chooses Harvard, Yale, Stanford, &c. Many truly amazing black high schools have shut their doors entirely.

So, what is the "duty" of an oustanding black student? To support the excellent black education system (a laudable goal) or to go to Harvard and both do well for oneself and support integration and inclusion (also a laudable goal)?
 
captain morgan
+1
#8
A big catch-22 to be sure.

Perhaps one might look upon those closures (albeit a waste) as a degree of validation of the acceptance of the demographic in question.

Curious: Do those schools like Fisk, Emory, etc open their doors to all?... I'm guessing they do, so that brings up another question relative to the active marketing of the institution(s).
 
Walter
#9
Homosexuals need their own bookstore?
 
BornRuff
+3
#10  Top Rated Post
Quote: Originally Posted by gerryhView Post

Couldn't agree more RCS, unfortunately, even with all their cry's for "equality", they are still too exclusionary.

It is not exclusionary really. If you want to go into a gay bar or a LGBT book store, nobody is going to get mad at you or kick you out for not being gay yourself.

The gay community has simply developed a unique culture over the years, and places like these help preserve that culture. Acceptance and inclusion doesn't have to mean assimilation.
 
Tecumsehsbones
+1
#11
Quote: Originally Posted by captain morganView Post

A big catch-22 to be sure.

Perhaps one might look upon those closures (albeit a waste) as a degree of validation of the acceptance of the demographic in question.

Curious: Do those schools like Fisk, Emory, etc open their doors to all?... I'm guessing they do, so that brings up another question relative to the active marketing of the institution(s).

They have to. Contrary to what many believe, black institutions discriminating against whites is every bit as illegal as white institutions discriminating against blacks. The black colleges are now called HBCUs (historically black colleges and universities). As a matter of fact, they remain mostly black, but they have a substantial percentage of white students (and Asian, and even a few savage redskins).

Quote: Originally Posted by WalterView Post

Homosexuals need their own bookstore?

That's the whole discussion, Walter. The gay bookstore was established in the day when good, Gawd-fearing Murkans who believe 100% in free speech and the free press would not tolerate a bookstore that sold books that dealt openly with homosexuality.

Now that things have changed some, the question is whether there is still a role for a gay bookstore.
 
captain morgan
#12
Savages too?.. Well, there goes the neighbourhood lol.

So, that piques my curiosity relative to the closures of some of the aforementioned.

Understanding (or rather assuming) that they are delivering a premium education, what is the dynamic that leads to their not being supported by budding students?

I'm just askin' here as it doesn't make a lot of sense.

PS - The competition factor (between the Harvards, Browns and Amhersts) notwithstanding
 
BornRuff
+1
#13
Quote: Originally Posted by WalterView Post

Homosexuals need their own bookstore?

There used to be lots of genre specific bookstores. Children's books, mystery novels, sci-fi, cookbooks, etc etc etc.

They are great for their respective industry because they allow people to discover lesser known authors more easily. If you go into one of those massive stores, no staff member can possibly have the kind of knowledge of all the books there that these store owners have/had in their specific area of expertise.

The book industry is obviously changing though, so most of these stores can't survive.
 
Zipperfish
+1
#14
People get attached to bookstores. I know I did. Now it's all Chapters and Indigo, and smaller stores just can't compete. The realities of capitalist economics and all that, and not that I'm dead set against big bookstores, but I still miss the little niche stores I used to go to.
 
Tecumsehsbones
+2
#15
Quote: Originally Posted by captain morganView Post

Savages too?.. Well, there goes the neighbourhood lol.

So, that piques my curiosity relative to the closures of some of the aforementioned.

Understanding (or rather assuming) that they are delivering a premium education, what is the dynamic that leads to their not being supported by budding students?

I'm just askin' here as it doesn't make a lot of sense.

PS - The competition factor (between the Harvards, Browns and Amhersts) notwithstanding

The competition is the thing. In the American South, segregation produced two parallel communities, white and black. And the black community produced lawyers, doctors, scientists, engineers, clergymen, and other high-status, high-education jobs, because every community needs those functions. And just as the white community produced such outstanding colleges as University of Virginia, Baylor, Rice, Duke, and UNC Chapel Hill, and such outstanding high schools as Phillips Exeter and Andover, the black community produced superior private high schools, and high-achieving segregated black public high schools.

But the perceived superiority of white society and institutions caused high-achieving black families to send their kids to the formerly-white schools when integration came, for three reasons, two valid and one not valid:

1. The white schools had better facilities.
2. Having worked so hard for integration, they were motivated to practice it.
3. The white institutions were perceived superior by white and black alike. Certainly you could make more powerful connections at formerly-white schools. So the best of the blacks went to the formerly-white schools, while few whites were willing to go to the formerly-black schools, generally preferring a second-tier formerly-white school to a top-tier formerly black school.

So, over time, the quality of students, and the socio-economic power of graduates, including their ability to donate big money, declined at the formerly-black schools.

This is exaclty what I meant by the fear among subcultures of losing the good with the bad.
 
captain morgan
#16
Sad that this is the case, particularly that those institutions that have and could generate superior end products are closing for such a puny reason.
 
BornRuff
#17
Quote: Originally Posted by ZipperfishView Post

People get attached to bookstores. I know I did. Now it's all Chapters and Indigo, and smaller stores just can't compete. The realities of capitalist economics and all that, and not that I'm dead set against big bookstores, but I still miss the little niche stores I used to go to.

I loved some of the small book stores in my area, but I know I am definitely part of the reason that they can't compete. I love going in to find out about new books, or pick up a hard to find book, but if I already know what I want and it is on chapters.ca, it is hard to forgo those savings.
 
Walter
#18
Quote: Originally Posted by captain morganView Post

Sad that this is the case, particularly that those institutions that have and could generate superior end products are closing for such a puny reason.

If you're not making money the only option is to close.
 
gerryh
#19
Quote: Originally Posted by BornRuffView Post

It is not exclusionary really. If you want to go into a gay bar or a LGBT book store, nobody is going to get mad at you or kick you out for not being gay yourself.

The gay community has simply developed a unique culture over the years, and places like these help preserve that culture. Acceptance and inclusion doesn't have to mean assimilation.


You go ahead and believe that.


I find it hilarious how a vanilla speaks about all of this as if he really has a clue, when in fact he doesn't.
 
Tecumsehsbones
#20
Quote: Originally Posted by BornRuffView Post

It is not exclusionary really. If you want to go into a gay bar or a LGBT book store, nobody is going to get mad at you or kick you out for not being gay yourself.

The gay community has simply developed a unique culture over the years, and places like these help preserve that culture. Acceptance and inclusion doesn't have to mean assimilation.

Well put.
 
BornRuff
#21
Quote: Originally Posted by gerryhView Post

You go ahead and believe that.


I find it hilarious how a vanilla speaks about all of this as if he really has a clue, when in fact he doesn't.

Lol, what? This is a pretty simple point.

Are you saying you have been kicked out of a gay bookstore for being straight?
 
gerryh
#22
Quote: Originally Posted by BornRuffView Post

Lol, what? This is a pretty simple point.

Are you saying you have been kicked out of a gay bookstore for being straight?


Like I said, not a clue. But, like I said, you wanna believe that gays are so much more tolerant and non bigoted than anyone else. You go right ahead. You've obviously bought it hook line and sinker.
 
BornRuff
#23
Quote: Originally Posted by gerryhView Post

Like I said, not a clue. But, like I said, you wanna believe that gays are so much more tolerant and non bigoted than anyone else. You go right ahead. You've obviously bought it hook line and sinker.

So you think they are more or less tolerant than other people?

They are humans, so obviously there are going to be nice people and not so nice people in any group.

I have quite a few friends who are gay though, so I have been to gay bars, events like pride, etc, and I have never felt like people didn't want me to be there.

What kind of experiences have you had where you felt like gay people as a group were not being tolerant of you or acting bigoted?
 
Zipperfish
#24
We have tons of gay bars in Vancouver. I don't recall straights being thrown out, or anyone even complaining that gays have their "own" bars. In actual fact, the hot girls go to the gay clubs. Who knows why? There's some affinity there--better music? better dressed guys? get hit on less?

Anyways, then the straight guys show up, because the hot girls are tehre. Everybody co-exists peacefully. Then the gays open up another bar, for them. Then the hot girls start going there....

I don't see that as particularly exclusionary.

Now, I did get tossed out of the lesbian bar once, but I was about to leave anyways. What a miserable bunch. They complained the whole time that the gays had all these cool bars and the lesbians got a dump. Yeah, well try drinking more. Place was dead on a Friday.
 
gerryh
#25
Quote: Originally Posted by BornRuffView Post

So you think they are more or less tolerant than other people?

They are humans, so obviously there are going to be nice people and not so nice people in any group.

I have quite a few friends who are gay though, so I have been to gay bars, events like pride, etc, and I have never felt like people didn't want me to be there.

What kind of experiences have you had where you felt like gay people as a group were not being tolerant of you or acting bigoted?


I'm bi, and they are as bigoted as vanilla's.
 
Tecumsehsbones
#26
Quote: Originally Posted by gerryhView Post

I'm bi

Me too. If I want it, I have to buy it.
 
gerryh
#27
Quote: Originally Posted by TecumsehsbonesView Post

Me too. If I want it, I have to buy it.


Ya, yer a funny guy.
 
Walter
#28
I speak more than 2 languages.
 
Tecumsehsbones
#29
Quote: Originally Posted by gerryhView Post

Ya, yer a funny guy.

I used to be trisexual. I'd try anything sexual. But, you know, ya get older, start feeling some arthritis, and eventually you just cross trampolines and trapezes off your list of sex aids.
 
BornRuff
#30
Quote: Originally Posted by gerryhView Post

I'm bi, and they are as bigoted as vanilla's.

I asked about your experiences. What made you feel that way?
 

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