Tuesday, August 28, 2012

True Colors Bookstore

True Colors Bookstore (2011) Photographer: Ed Kohler
True Colors Bookstore

Location: 4755 Chicago Avenue South, Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA - although it had been at several other locations over the years

Opened: 1970

Closed: February 2012

At the time she passed away, True Colors (formerly known as the Amazon Bookstore Cooperative till 2009) was the credited with being the oldest independent feminist bookstore in North America.

OutHistory has a great summation of the Cooperative's early years. Like nearly all feminist bookstores, the Cooperative was a major gathering space within the women's community, and supported local women artists and writers through exhibitions and readings.

True Colors owners
In its later years, the bookstore struggled in a changing economic, political, and technological climate. One major drain was a ten-year fight with Amazon.com over copyright infringment. The "settlement" was essentially a loss of the bookstore, which was forced to alter its name when it changed hands. This April 2009 interview with new owner Ruta Skujins explains a lot of the details.

Three years later, the bookstore was still struggling--and the tanking economy didn't help. Sales had dropped by half, even though the inventory had been expanded to include more children's books and books about spirituality. True Colors, according to Skujins, was nearly $25,000 in debt. It was hoped that a series of fundraisers or some sort of "angel investor" would save the bookstore.

But that didn't pan out, so the True Colors closed its doors for good in February 2012.

Here's something to mull over (and grieve). In 1994 there were over 120 feminist bookstores in the US and Canada, and now there are just 13.
unded in 1970, True Colors Bookstore (formerly Amazon Bookstore Cooperative) is the oldest independent feminist bookstore in North America. Our store offers products and services that foster the strength, wisdom, beauty and diversity of

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