One of the nations' last surviving LGBT bookstores is up for sale
PHILADELPHIA -- In an announcement earlier this week, Ed Hermance, the owner of Giovanni’s Room, one of the nation's last surviving LGBT bookstores said that he is retiring after 37 years and is putting the shop and its building up for sale.
Hermance, 73, has been running business since 1976 after he assumed ownership three years after the bookstore's 1973 opening. In 1979 Hermance moved the shop to its current location just south of city centre. According to the Philadelphia Inquirer's website- Philly.com- Hermance is handling the sale personally and told the paper he will have asking prices determined later this month.
“I know it’s possible for independent bookstores to thrive in the current environment. I don’t know if someone has the resources and the passion to continue the store,” he said.
“If someone wanted to rent the space for a different kind of bookstore and no one wanted to continue Giovanni’s Room, I’d be pleased to rent it to them, thinking that it would be in their interest to help all the people who have depended on us.”
“We have inventory that is worth something and we also owe for books. It would also depend on some degree on who bought it,” he said about the sale price adding; “I think Giovanni’s Room has a lot of goodwill in it, so I wouldn't be embarrassed to take $100,000 for the business. I am not asking for a lot, I would just like to have enough for a stick of gum.”
In the past 40 years, the store has been a constant hub for LGBT and ally authors along as acting as an impromptu community and outreach centre. Any buyer of the shop would inherit its current physical inventory of more than 48,000 books along with its website which offers an additional five million titles including 3.5 million ebooks online.
During Hermance’s first three years as owner, Giovanni’s Room was 100-percent volunteer-run. The store hit its highest number of employees — four full-timers and four part-timers — in 1992. It now has three paid employees and volunteer labor drives about 40 percent of its operations.