This SF Bookstore Is Taking 40% Off Its Entire Inventory. But for a Somber Reason.

San Francisco’s The Green Arcade is closing after well over a decade of bookselling — slashing everything in the store by almost half.

San Francisco is home to a sea of bookstores — dozens, in fact. Though even here in San Francisco, which is largely synonymous as a bastion for literature, bookstores, especially independently-owned ones, are retreating like a low tide. In March, San Francisco was hammered with a massive blow to the city’s literary scene when two touchstones, The Magazine and Alexander Book Company, closed amid financial woes, despite increased online sales.

The seven-by-seven has to contend with another biophilic gut punch after The Green Arcade announced it is closing. And it’s in a hurry to clear its store of books and pageless items, throwing a “retirement” sale through the weekend that will see everything in the store discounted by at least 40%.

“What a great experience this had been,” reads a line of copy on the bookstore’s website announcing the sale. “ We still love Market Street— and all who came through our doors over the years — even some of the more ‘interesting’ characters!”

In a thoughtful ode to the almost shuttered bookstore, 48hill’s Marke B. snagged Patrick Marks, the owner of The Green Arcade, in between perusing the collection of “socially conscious books.”

The reason for the sudden shuttering seems voluntary and void of financial anguish; “it’s just that time,” Marke B. said, hinting at his retirement and apt-named, storewide sale.

The bookstore at 1680 Market Street has existed as a hyperlocal safe space for contemplation and bookworming for well over a decade. Since debuting in 2008, Mark’s vision of building the multi-level space around an eco-conscious model, helping people find material that expands on the environmental concerns affecting our modern-day world. (Case in point: This past 4th of July was the hottest ever recorded… in over 100,000 years.) The space has grown into a familiar space for poets; for writers; for readers; for anyone who finds solace in the whisper of a turning page and the smell of aged adhesive.

Books aren’t going anywhere. They’re here to stay — and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. With that said, there’s reason enough to recreate the magic that enspelled The Green Arcade elsewhere in the city… perhaps in downtown, helping silence all the doom-loop noise

“This is a huge loss, but there’s no reason something like Green Arcade can be built by others with a similar passion,” says James Tracy, Chair of the Labor and Community Studies Department at City College of San Francisco and author of numerous titles like Hillbilly Nationalists, to 48hills. “SF doesn’t have to suffer through the loss of bookstore after bookstore. Look at all that space opening up downtown.”

May the closing of The Green Arcade exist as a duplicitous symbol: A reminder to support local, independently-owned bookstores, as well as a permission slip to honor closing a chapter in your life, when the time inevitably comes.

The Green Arcade’s “retirement” sale is going on from now until July 23rd at its physical location at 1680 Market Street during store hours; limited stock is available, and all sales are final; click here for more info

Feature image: Courtesy of Yelp!

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