Save Modern Times From The Ashbin Of History

Miranda July at Modern Times
(Miranda July at Modern Times by the omnipresent Steve Rhodes)

Since 1971 Modern Times Bookstore has provided the people of the neighborhood with quality reading material. They’re an independent collective which has held its own against the rise of the major book chains and even the creation of the virtual bookosphere. But they’ve been struggling for a while, (they recently added used books to their shelves) yet they continue to stock the latest in progressive, alternative, LGBT and main stream product, as well as hold reading events in the back of the shop. If they don’t have something you want they’ll order it and call you for no extra charge.

They’re a rad store and they need help to stay open. So stop by, buy a book or three, or donate some cold hard cash if you’re so inclined. They’ll definitely appreciate it.

Found at Curbed, read more at Mission Local.

21 Responses to “Save Modern Times From The Ashbin Of History”

  1. Brillo says:

    I bought a book at Dog-Eared yesterday. Should I feel guilty?

    • Ariel Dovas says:

      Well, they probably need your support too. I think you should read more. And blogs don’t count.

    • SFDoggy says:

      No. Dog-eared books has a nice selection of books that lots of people would actually want to read. Modern Times has an agenda that they want to push. If you are into that fine, but otherwise it doesn’t hold much appeal.

  2. Marshall says:

    If this store can’t keep it’s doors open by selling a product that customers actually want to buy, then it shouldn’t exist.

    Borderlands books down the street understands that if they are to survive they must serve their customers needs. By selling their books online and also having a coffee shop, they have adapted to the demands of a modern market economy.

    I know San Francisco is full of blatant anti-capitalist types, but a store going under because it serves nobody’s needs is a very good thing. Chances are the space will be rented out by a new business that is willing to take some risks and the neighborhood will continue to improve (gentrification is a good thing).

    So long Modern Times! If you only carried books I actually wanted to buy I would help you out. It’s a bit pathetic for a for-profit store to ask for “donations” to stay in business when it could just do a better job by providing customers with a actual goods and services.

  3. Jane says:

    I’m sorry to see any bookstore close, but I have a pal who is an avid book buyer and won’t go there anymore because he was made to feel unwelcome everytime he went in. Was it because he’s a guy? Not a hipster? Don’t know, but it seems like a bad idea to push away customers like that.

    • bookster says:

      “Was it because he’s a guy? Not a hipster? ” did you really just type this? really? maybe it was him, maybe it’s just a bookstore, not walmart where they have a greeter to kiss your ass and point you in the right direction. I highly doubt personal style and gender had anything to do with his insecurities of buying a book. just a thought.

      • ben says:

        One party is failing and begging for donations here.

      • 300baud says:

        Wowsers. Way to be a conclusion-jumping asshole.

        I’m Jane’s pal. I buy plenty of books in the city, including at Dog-Eared Books, Borderlands, City Lights, and Books Inc. I love bookstores, and used to work in a library, so I think I’m pretty comfortable with books and their people. And I help run a co-op myself, so I’m down with the non-traditional thing.

        Still, and maybe it was just me, but I never felt even vaguely welcome at Modern Times. Whether it was me or them or something else, I dunno. But after a few bad experiences, I took my business to the local bookstores that apparently did want me as a customer. Given that none of them are asking for donations, maybe I’m not the only one.

  4. Califizzy says:

    I just think that San Franciscans don’t put their money where their mouths are. Everyone loves to tout their love of independent bookstores, but everyone also loves to pay $10 – $20 less than the cover price for new books. With the money that everyone saves by buying books on Amazon, they can buy a lousy bumpersticker or t-shirt that says “Local Bookstores are Sexy!” and be done with it. If everyone who claims to love the indie bookshop actually bought their books there, I don’t think Modern Times would have any problems.

    I think it would be fun to have a website that showed all the locals who shop at Amazon and what they buy. Kind of like the “outing” of the businesses who donated to Prop 8.

    I am not even saying that shopping on Amazon is wrong per se, but I bet that the list would surprise everyone.

  5. travis says:

    Regarding feeling unwelcome, I don’t go into Modern Times because they always want to check my bag. Having to wait around for someone at the register to fetch it when I’m done browsing discourages my impulsively entering the store.

    Dog Eared has a sign saying they want your bag, but I’ve been there dozens of times and no one’s ever asked for it.

  6. MrEricSir says:

    Oh noes, book-stores going out of business?! What next, the type-writer shop will close? The neighborhood blacksmith will go bankrupt? Or the shutting down of the horse-train depot?

  7. bookster says:

    what most people don’t seem to understand about indie bookstores or arts and culture in general is that these types of places (city lights, modern times adobe ect.) offer a good beyond whats on the shelf, they offer lectures, poetry and programs to the community without charging, also a place for local zine and book makers to sell their goods. they support actual arts. It isn’t just about the books. and for the ‘they don’t sell things people want/gentrification is good’ yeah they do sell something people want, they sell culture- an idea of what every ones precious bohemian mission subculture is. Without stores like moderntimes, otsu ect that are closing down due to the marinacation of valencia street, there is no ‘hipster mission’ a place that most people on this blog seem to want to be in the thick of. If hipster means you like things locally you support small business and realize there is more to life than a bargain and a front door greeter than I am fine with the grossly overused term.

    • ben says:

      You’re right. I know I *should* give my money to subsidize what you like and have you insult me in return, but somehow I haven’t got round to it yet. Maybe if rant about “greeters” some more, that’ll help.

  8. Public Frenemy says:

    meanwhile, about a dozen boutiques have popped up along valencia over the last year that specialize in $200 blouses, couches that don’t look comfortable and other such bullshit. looks like the transformation of the mission into the next hayes valley is going into high gear…

  9. Birnbaum says:

    I’m going to Modern Times and buying a book, like I’ve done many, many, many times over the past 17 years. They have great books on current politics, books written by the great intellectual thinkers, ancient to modern. They have large sections of Spanish language literature and politics, and children’s books about all different cultures in many languages. Magazines and publications you cannot find anywhere else about social issues, art, and politics. They have a large selection of LGBT literature, zines and politics. They hold reading, poetry events in the back. The staff are well read, socially aware, interested humans. If that doesn’t fit our neighborhood, The Mission has changed more than I realized or thought it ever would. Who would have thought the opening of Foreign Cinema would come to this?

  10. pat says:

    I don’t know how to feel about this but I can’t say there’s much injustice in it.

    I got into what I do by hanging out at used book stores as a kid. I’m one of those Amazon types destroying the local indie bookstore. I make a living selling stuff more efficiently than they do, which allows me to create culture for it’s own sake. It’s hard. I have a short film going out to film festivals that my business allowed me to make. I’m helping set up a community garden in my back yard that I can organize in the day because I work at home. I pay a lot of taxes on the gross sales I bring in instead of being unemployed or costing more than I pay, and only get to keep a fraction from the gross. I don’t get support to do this.

    I talked to a local icon of independent publishing about co-publishing a book with my money. I said no because he couldn’t offer me a reason to pay out money and have selling advantage for the risk- I’d have lots tied up in a stock I couldn’t sell any better than anyone else on amazon and would probably lose it to make his ambitions happen. Sorry man, it’s your ambition.

    It’s like the structure is failing for music business and it’s increasingly on the original creators and rights holders to put their own stuff out there, whether they can make money doing it or not. Stuff I make personally isn’t for money, it’s because I embrace this instead of just expecting it from others. Times are tough. Make better stuff and sell it more efficiently, I guess. Everyone wants to make and have cool culture and entertainment while manufacturing and building stuff gets done in china. Where’s the limit?

    • James O'Boston says:

      You kinda sound like a dick. I was your age once and probably had more money at that age than you have now. I said things like this. I was a dick. I’m over it. The sooner YOU get over it, the better for everyone, yourself included.

  11. Be Gone Already says:

    Modern Times = RUDE RUDE RUDE.

    I live in the mission. I buy my books elsewhere because they hire people who make you feel uncomfortable. When I go to BUY groceries, coffee or books SPARE the attitude (modern times, you are not that cool) I will order books on AMAZON just to see modern times go out of business sooner. Its the TRUTH. THEY SHOULD HAVE TREATED EVERY ONE EQUAL (HIPSTER OR NOT)

  12. there are mnay used books online and the price is cheap too but i wonder if the quality of it is good ..,