Contrary to popular belief, Adobe Books is NOT closing

Instead, it’s being transformed!  So says Andrew McKinley, the proprietor of Adobe Bookstore:

Looking ahead to the New Year, there are basically two options for the Adobe Bookstore.  I choose to be an optimist and believe that the store can be saved, providing enough people band together to contribute labor, sufficient funds, and creative energy to transform Adobe Bookshop into a viable cooperative business entity. The cooperative strategy must be realized in a short time frame to enable a successful transition phase.  By the beginning of 2013, a new lease, new stock and reorganized staff need to be put into place.

Check out the full report as well as an informative FAQ after the jump, and be sure to join this Facebook group to stay up to date on all things Adobe.

Dear Friends,

I’m writing to let you know about what’s happening with the Adobe Bookshop.  After twenty three years at our location on 16TH street in the Mission our new landlord wants to increase the rent to an amount more in line with today’s market values. We have been here so long that we actually pay a comparatively low rent for the space.

In recent years independent book selling has been become a hard business to sustain due to increased rents and the growth of online sales and digital publishing. These conditions have made it no longer economically feasible to operate the Adobe Bookshop in the same way as in the past.

It’s a difficult situation for me to resolve since I would like to continue the good will and creative energy generated by the store. I would prefer NOT to move or close the store. As an alternative, I have been working with a group of Adobe friends who are intent on establishing a membership cooperative to take over and maintain the store as a business and a cultural space.

For several months I have pragmatically been preparing to close down the Adobe Bookshop by selling off its inventory. This has been prudent and necessary from a business perspective and will continue until the end of the year. Moreover by reducing used book inventory, I will liberate interior space and afford the cooperative an opportunity to reconfigure areas of the store for the showcasing of new literary merchandise and art works for exhibit and sale, as well as expanding opportunities for presentations and performances.

Looking ahead to the New Year, there are basically two options for the Adobe Bookstore.  I choose to be an optimist and believe that the store can be saved, providing enough people band together to contribute labor, sufficient funds, and creative energy to transform Adobe Bookshop into a viable cooperative business entity. The cooperative strategy must be realized in a short timeframe to enable a successful transition phase.  By the beginning of 2013, a new lease, new stock and reorganized staff need to be put into place.

While I am accepting of closing the old Adobe Bookshop, I am ready to devote my energy to the realization of a new cooperative vision. This vision encompasses a sustainable business model, which blends community engagement programs, visual arts, performances and cultural activities with commercial sales activities.  Our vision is not singular. Other independent bookstores including several here in the Bay Area serve as successful guides for our project.

I recognize the importance of my participation and will greatly assist in the transition phase and oversee the building up of the new Adobe Bookshop. I will contribute my expertise and connections, along with limited funds to provide business continuity for the new entity.

But I can only proceed in this effort if a wider group of friends from our community step forward and volunteer their energy and expertise quickly as we transition into the cooperative ownership and operation of the new business.

Andrew McKinley, Proprietor Adobe Bookshop



What’s happening with the Adobe Bookshop?

Adobe Bookshop is under threat of closure due to increased rents and operational costs. The impact of gentrification in the Mission combined with the shift to e-books and online sales have made retail sales of used books an increasingly difficult business to sustain. Andrew McKinley and the staff of the Adobe Bookshop have faced similar financial pressures in previous years, but the current circumstances are different, due to the necessity to negotiate a new lease at a higher rent and longer timeframe. Previous incremental fund raising efforts no longer offer a solution for sustaining the bookshop, as it currently exists.In response to this dire situation friends of the Adobe Bookshop (including visual and performance artists, writers, poets, activists and community members) are developing The Adobe Books and Arts Cooperative, a member supported and operated cooperative dedicated to establishing an expanded and sustainable business.

How is Andrew McKinley involved?

Fortunately we have Andrew McKinley’s full participation, and he is a key member of the Adobe cooperative work group, which seeks to carry the goodwill and positive energy generated by him during the store’s previous 23 years into the future. The work group transition team along with Andrew is developing a comprehensive plan, retaining the spirit of inclusiveness and generosity established by the bookshop. Andrew intends to assist the cooperative management team, doing what he loves best, buying books and directly engaging the creative community.

What is the transition team?

The transition team will be comprised of members from the work group along with individuals who have expertise in the necessary areas to make the transition. We are currently recruiting transition team members, who would ideally represent diverse community interests. We welcome interested individuals willing to spend the time and effort, especially those with expertise in bookstore operations, publishing, marketing, and fundraising as well as people from the creative community of artists, curators, authors, and musicians.

How will the Adobe Bookshop be transformed?

A number of business models are under consideration, and we are pursuing multiple revenue streams in addition to the sale of used books; these would include new books, original artwork (flat files), artist limited editions and publications, unique crafts and recorded media. In true Adobe fashion, a mix of cultural programs and art exhibits to engage the creative community will continue to play a key role at the transformed bookshop. We intend to reconfigure several interior spaces within the store for presenting popup exhibits as well as live music and performance events. The backroom gallery will continue to offer curators an important venue for thematic exhibits and showcasing young artists and craftspeople.

What is the timeframe for the project?

Andrew McKinley wants to resolve the future of the Adobe Bookshop by the end of 2012, and has expressed his support and optimism for the transformation project, but we must move forward quickly.

How can I help?

As we build our business plan and embark on the transition from the past into the future we need the support of the Adobe Bookshop community as well as support from new arrivals to the Mission district thatshare a common vision of community engagement, accessible arts and good books. Soon we will embark on a fundraising campaign. Help us spread the word. Visit the Adobe Bookshop on 16th Street – buy some books, fuel the transition. If you want to join the work group or recommend an individual for the transition team send a message via our Facebook page. There is ample opportunity for creative and task based input into transition team activities. We need your energy, insight and active engagement. There is also a work group forum where members share ideas, create documents and interact to move the project forward.

For additional information, contact:

Neil Martinson –

Allison McSurely –

20 Responses to “Contrary to popular belief, Adobe Books is NOT closing”

  1. simon stark says:

    who needs books when you have a kindle?

    • who needs commenters when you have fucking trolls like simon stark?

    • Brett says:

      Adobe has always been about much more than books – it’s been an important space for art, performance and conversation. The kindle may be rightly threatening the used book business, but that’s the whole point of this transformation: to find a sustainable way to support this kind of public space in the Mission when the old business models won’t cut it anymore.

  2. Troy says:

    Not that long ago, the city was filled with used bookstores like this one. It’s hard to believe how fast things change.

  3. friend says:

    this is great news!!

  4. Skippy says:

    Love, love, LOVE the Adobe. Best bookstore in SF, glad to see that it is going to stick around.

  5. Lauren says:

    I love Adobe! Every book I’ve ever needed for an English class I’ve been able to find at Adobe for around $3. And I have never met such a warm, kind-hearted person as Andrew McKinley. Adobe is a true SF gem.

  6. MrEricSir says:

    Just down the street, Forest Books is also in trouble.

    • JT Snowball says:

      And Forest Books is a well organized store with a variety of niche subject areas. It may not be as cool as Adobe or have the same claim to it’s missionosity, but it’s a better book store for actual books. Hate to see it go.

  7. scum says:

    I like books, but I don’t like Wren.

  8. Jonnie says:

    Yes, we do love Adobe… and Adobe loves the community surrounding it. We need interested parties to step up and help us in this future vision.
    Please join the face book group:
    and contact Neil Martinson: to find out how you could help.

  9. ryan says:

    So it sounds like Adobe has an exit strategy, or rather, strategy. But Forest Books is facing a much bigger dilemma with the MHDC (Mission Housing Development Corporation). Mr. Wood’s got a petition on the door, but it doesn’t look like it’s growing that well. Maybe an online petition? Promoted by Mission Mission or Uptown Almanac, maybe even Haighteration or some shit, I don’t know. Some may argue, but I think they have a pretty strong voice and can get shit like this done. I can’t figure out how to make one, can someone get on this?

  10. Maurice says:

    I would rather have Adobe close than become some yuppie art boutique.

  11. leviathan says:

    sad. I love adobe books. figure out a way to reduce the rent.

  12. Hey! This post could not be written any better!
    Reading this post reminds me of my previous room mate!
    He always kept talking about this. I will forward this page to him.

    Fairly certain he will have a good read. Thank you for sharing!