Adobe Books, one of the Mission’s most beloved bookstores, is on the verge of closing.
“There is a new landlord who wants to raise the rent closer to market rate,” said owner Andrew McKinley.
The new landlord took over the property at 3166 16th St., between Valencia and Guerrero streets, in 2010, and now wants to raise the rent to $6,000 a month, a 20 percent increase. McKinley said he cannot afford the new rate.
The store’s windows are papered with signs reading “Everything on sale” and “Everything must go” — the same ones used when the store almost closed in 2010.
“We could make changes, morph it into a more successful business. I could sell it to someone who could take care of it and get the landlord off our back,” McKinley said. “It would be nice to keep the store going.”
He is coming to terms, however, with the idea that the store is likely to close. “It’s a goodbye sale.”
McKinley, 55, opened the bookstore in 1989 and it quickly became known by some as “the living room of the Mission,” according to an employee. The store received national attention in 2004 when it arranged its more than 20,000 used books by color.
Over the last decade, the Mission’s independent bookstores, many of which have been here for decades, have struggled against one new competitor after another, including mega-bookstores, online sales and now e-books.
Abandoned Planet Bookstore was evicted from its Valencia Street location in 2010. Modern Times moved from Valencia Street in 2011 because of lagging sales and increasing rents. Alan Beatts, the owner of Borderlands Books and the Borderlands Café next door, previously told Mission Loc@l that he opened the café because he doesn’t see bookstores as a viable business.
McKinley pointed out that other independent bookstores in San Francisco, such as City Lights, are able to stay open because they own the buildings.
Some customers and employees were at the store on Wednesday afternoon, lamenting the loss.
“This is the last bohemian-style bookstore,” said employee Sri Ananda. He added that many people came to read and even nap on their couches.
No matter what happens, McKinley said, he still has the memories.
“We had good times over the years. Even today is a good day.”