Dear Readers, Attendees, Patrons-
We owe you our livelihood. We owe our reemergence, first by fire last October, then by hurricane flooding this October, to your tenacious and fiercely loyal love and support. We couldn’t be more humbled or more thankful that we live in a city where what we strive to do strikes such a chord. We are blessed, and we thank you.
As we cleaned and repainted and asked for donations to replace destroyed merchandise, we realized our financial losses were in the tens of thousands. We don’t need to tell you what that means for an independent bookstore, literary event space, and art book publisher. So we decided to do what powerHouse is known for—throw an exuberant reading event to celebrate our collective passion—books—and our determination to not let any bastards, natural or otherwise, get us down. We are here for you, and boy did you turn out for us.
We asked our favorite writers for help and couldn’t have been more honored by how eagerly they stepped up to support us. Ayad Akhtar, Teju Cole, Saïd Sayrafiezadeh, Jennifer Egan, Cecily von Ziegesar, Rick Moody, Joseph O’Neill, Paul Auster, Pete Hamill, Sarah Vowell, Fiona Robinson, John Bemelmans Marciano, Téa Obreht, Jonathan Franzen—their participation (and patience throughout a barrage of logistical emails) is a testament to their generosity as people, writers, and readers. Words—our quotidian ones—can’t adequately express our gratitude.
Publicists and editors were cheerleaders from the get go: Jynne Martin, James Meader, Jeff Seroy, Maria Braeckel, Nicole Dewey, Jeffrey Yamaguchi, Kate Runde, Theresa Giacopasi, Caitlin McKenna, Noah Eaker, Elizabeth Garriga, Carolyn O’Keefe, and more—they contacted authors and sent us cartons of donations. If there’s a kinder or more hardworking crew in the publishing industry, we haven’t met them yet.
Under the coordination of Rob Spillman, New York’s indies supplied boxes of donations, from issues of One Story, Bomb, Vice, Tin House, Electric Literature, and A Public Space to beautiful new releases from Black Balloon, The Coffin Factory, Akashic, Triple Canopy, and Dalkey Archive Press.
We’re also indebted to the following media outlets for helping publicize our story and our fundraiser: The New Yorker listed the event despite short notice, as did our friends at Time Out. New York Magazine covered our new store (we managed to stick to our opening at powerHouse on 8th albeit two weeks off schedule) and added a note about Sandy Hates Books. The National Book Foundation turned 5 under 35 into a partial benefit for powerHouse. Artforum donated a web banner, and The Village Voice contributed a wonderful ad space. Other publications that spread the word include The Paris Review, tumblr, Publishers Weekly, NY 1, Huffington Post, Bomb Magazine, The Rumpus, and the staff of Armchair/Shotgun, who also provided elbow grease. We’re so proud to be associated with each of you, an integral part of New York’s culture.
Special thanks to writers and artists and presses and editors across the United States who donated time, books, tweets, artwork, or all of the above plus more: Ampersand Books, Simon & Schuster, Random House, HarperCollins, Macmillan, Random House, Penguin, Hachette, Lonely Planet, Rain Taxi, Drawn & Quarterly, Taking the Lane, Europa Editions, Graywolf Press, Chronicle, Rizzoli, Orion, Herald Press, Megan Abbot, Ben Wallace, Theresa Ortolani, Yolanda Cuomo, Norma Brown, Adrian Tomine, Chuck Gonzales, Jim Benton, Leanne Shapton, Sophie Blackall, Peter Brown, Jane Mendelsohn, Brett Helquist, Snorri Sturluson, Brian Floca, Paul Morris, Leigh Stein, and Benjamin Samuel. You all are dear friends and your help was indispensable.
Next, our indefatigable staff, interns, and former employees—Craig Mathis, Lena Valencia, Jordan Nielsen, Ashley McNelis, Syreeta McFadden, Sam Brewer, Todd Muller, Will Luckman, Kris Poluchowicz, Nina Ventura, Jacob Pastrovich, Mickey Hyun, Wes Del Val, Craig Cohen, Susanne König, Madison Morales, Ariel Stenek, Jingjing Tian, Erin Hawkins, Sophia Wolff, and Abigail Parsons. Could not have done it without your smiling (or stern, which we like too, but don’t admit it) faces.
A great heap of thanks to Brooklyn Roasting Company and One Girl Cookies for being here and donating refreshment proceeds. Both were hit as badly or even worse than we were, but that’s what Dumbo is: a small village where neighbor really means neighbor. We love you guys.
As we hear stories of people in Staten Island and the Rockaways still in crisis mode, we feel a complicated sense of gratitude and frustration. Gratitude for the literary community in this city and its inspiring dedication to independent bookstores, but frustration that we can’t do more for people who’ve lost their homes or no longer know where they will find their next hot meal. If you have anything left to give, we’d like to encourage you to support those still in need.
Because thanks to you, our Sandy Hates Books hurricane relief fundraiser was a huge success. We recouped a sizeable chunk of our losses, but we’re grateful for more than just that–seeing the Arena packed full of writers and readers was a much-needed morale booster. In total—book donations, cash donations, and sales taken into account—we raised over $20,000.
There is no other way to say this: readers are the best people. We couldn’t have weathered this disaster without your help, and we won’t forget your kindness and generosity during this difficult time for so many.
Finally, a bear hug for our customers. Without you we wouldn’t be here, and frankly—we wouldn’t want to be.
All our gratitude,
Julie Buntin, Events Coordinator