Sad face. While we're always pleased about half-off books, we're really sad about the impending loss of one of New York City's cherished independent bookstores.

Half-off books definitely aren't worth the loss of a cornerstone of NYC's literary scene, nor the demise of a physical place for literature lovers to hold community gatherings.

According to Bedford and Bowery, St. Mark's Bookshop owners Bob Contant and Terry McCoy were served a Marshals Notice last week, which means the next step is eviction.

"They're probably not going to be around much longer, we're talking days," said St. Mark's Bookshop's lawyer James West.

Last week, the bookstore announced a "clearance sale" as its last effort to raise money before an auction.

The East Village bookshop posted about the sale on Facebook on Thursday, announcing they'd slash their prices by half for everything in the store, cash only. They've also suspended their online sales. 

So, what does this all mean? Does this mean the store is closing?


"Unless there are investors that step up at the last minute, yes," said co-owner Bob Contant. "Because we don't have the money to continue."

Sadly, the bookshop owes money to the state in back rent and thousands of dollars in debt to one of its biggest distributors.

The New York Department of State issued a warrant on January 21st for a $34,408.76 tax lien. The only way to wiggle yourself out of one of those is to pay the bill in full, or file for bankruptcy.

"They ran into too many bad things happening all at once and they could not get out from under it. It started with the move and this new economic environment. I don't think they ever got the momentum going in the new space," West said. 

The move James is referring to occurred in the summer of 2014 when rising rents forced the store out of its 21-year-old home.

waaz_raj Dig the new location! #stmarksbookshop

According to EV Greive, longtime investors Charles FitzGerald and Rafay Khalid are hoping to bring back St. Mark's Bookshop as a "startup" with a new lease and rent.

However, Simon Reichley at Melville House is taking this announcement with, like, 50 grains of salt.

"This doesn't sound like Khalid and FitzGerald are saving St. Mark's Bookshop, so much as they are taking it over and changing its name. That's not philanthropy, that's a buyout," Reichley wrote.

All we can really say is that this all makes us sad, and that you should get to the East Village and buy half-off books while you can. 

Then, go support all the other independent bookstores in NYC, so we're not writing a similar article like this about another beloved bookstore anytime soon.

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[via Bedford and Bowery] [Feature Image Courtesy Instagram]