Nancy Bass Wyden, wife of U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., said loans and cash revenue allowed the bookstore to weather the last eight months but “we are now at a turning point where our business is unsustainable.”
Wyden inherited the business from her father in 2018. It was founded by her grandfather in 1927.
“We’ve survived just about everything for 93 years — the Great Depression, two World Wars, big-box bookstores, e-books and online behemoths," she wrote in the letter posted on Twitter. "Because of the impact of Covid-19, we cannot survive the huge decline in foot-traffic, a near complete loss of tourism and zero in-store events."
Wyden wrote in March that the bookstore had been forced to temporarily lay off a majority of its employees.
While many were quick to offer support - including celebrities like Patton Oswalt and Jim Gaffigan - some critics pointed out that Wyden, a millionaire, bought between $60,000 and $200,000 in Amazon stock last June, according to Barron’s. Amazon has been blamed for helping put local bookstores out of business.
Still, Wyden wasn’t asking for a handout. She pleaded with those who want the "last of the original 48 bookstores" remaining from 4th Avenue’s historic Book Row to visit their two Manhattan locations or shop on their website.
After her plea, the bookstore’s website went down temporarily, because of the increase in traffic, the store noted.