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Word Up Bookstore Fans Await Fate of Pop-Up Shop

By Carla Zanoni | December 19, 2011 8:52am

WASHINGTON HEIGHTS — Booklovers in upper Manhattan eagerly awaited news about the fate of Word Up bookstore, as the popular pop-up shop marked its sixth month over the weekend. 

Partygoers of various ages, ethnicities and backgrounds came together Saturday night to mark the benchmark for the multi-use bookstore, which has operated rent free at 4157 Broadway since June. 

“Look at this place — you don’t usually see something like this,” said Washington Heights resident Rammer Martínez Sánchez, as he surveyed the packed room. “You don’t see this at Barnes & Noble.”

Saturday’s event, called the "1st Month’s Rent Party," came in anticipation of the bookstore's founders signing a deal with current landlord Vantage Properties that would allow the shop to stay in the same space. The store has continued operating on Broadway on a month-to-month free contract with the real estate firm. 

Since DNAinfo first reported about negotiations for the space, shop operators and officials from the Northern Manhattan Arts Alliance have been working with Vantage to hammer out a deal. 

The event raised enough money for the store's hoped-for first month's rent "and then some," said Veronica Liu, one of the shop’s founders,

The party's $10 admission and launch of a new “Community Supported Bookshop” (CSB) program — modeled after the popular farm share programs called “Community Supported Agriculture” (CSA), where members buy a seasonal share of a farm and receive weekly shipments of fresh fruit and vegetables from a local farm — helped raise financial support. 

Word Up shareholders who purchase a share for $20 receive a silkscreened Word Up bookstore bag and six tokens that allow them to buy six books from the shop. 

"You can buy multiple CSBs, and you can buy CSBs in the name of other people as gifts. And you can know that the money you have committed to spending at Word Up will help keep us in the neighbourhood, and will help keep us community-run," read an announcement about the program. 

According to Liu, only two other bookstores in the United States run similar programs. She hoped to have specific news about the future of the bookstore this week. 

“We’re really excited to see this continue,” Liu said.