Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Building Update #9 - WE DID IT!

As of about 60 minutes ago, we had enough funds in the bank to pay for the building.  I cannot tell you how happy and excited I am about this.  It truly is a dream come true.

More than that though -- we've shown our city, our field, and the world what is possible.  A few days ago I was talking with one of our lenders in the office. He thanked me for changing the way that people look at the world and expanding what people believe is possible.  I was surprised and kind of embarrassed by the sentiment.  I'm not some big deal mover-and-shaker; I'm just a guy who likes to sell books.

But then I thought about it a bit and pointed out to him that I didn't do that.  We all did.  My part was suggesting that the world could be different and that something kind of crazy might be possible.  You all, our sponsors and the folks who lent us money and those that supported us in a hundred other ways, too -- you're the people who changed how people can look at the world and you expanded the idea of what is possible.  And I would expect no less from lovers of speculative and fantastic literature.

First, you did it by being sponsors and allowing us to continue to operate.  Then you proved that idea wasn't just a one-shot, flash-in-the-pan but that it was a viable idea for the long term (we have more sponsors this year than last year; the program is growing, not shrinking).  Those things were the basis and foundation that gave me the confidence and hope to try what we just accomplished.

And we did this:  49 lenders in total, $1.9 million dollars, in 18 days.

Thank you all for making a dream come true and showing just how powerful a like-minded, reasonable group of people can be.

Warmest Regards,

PS  There is one other group that deserves credit for what we've done -- the staff at the Bookstore and Cafe.  They are so good at what they do that I hardly had to think about work for the past 18 days.  Further, they are the people who truly give shape to Borderlands.  I'd just be a lonely guy in a tiny bookshop without them.

Monday, October 30, 2017

Building Update #8 - Right Down to the Wire

Funds on Deposit - $1,777,500              Days Left - 1


Of course this whole thing had to end up with a photo-finish.  And, of course, this couldn't end on any day other than Halloween.  I mean really . . . why did any of us think otherwise?

As you can see above, we are really, truly, awful goddam close.  But we're not quite there yet.

I fully expect that I'll see one or two deposits at the bank tomorrow that will take us right across the $1.8 million line.  As soon as I see them, I'll let you all know.

If I don't see those deposits, don't worry.  I'm not going to let a measly $22,500 stop us after we've raised so much.  That figure can be covered by the deposit reserve that I have at the store.  It can also probably be covered if all of us at the bookstore clean out our rainy-day reserves.  There are a dozen ways we can raise that in time.

But, dammit, I really hoped to be writing a different note today.

However, see my comment above -- it kind of had to work out this way.

As a good friend often says, "Now that's out of the way, how about a bright, shiny change of topic?"

What Do We Do First?
Dan, our realtor, asked me a couple days ago, "So, once escrow is closed and Bruce has his stuff out of there, what's the first thing you're going to do?"

In reply, I asked, "Do you mean in general or with the retail space?"

He chuckled and said he was asking about the retail space.

"First off, a lotta people, a lotta beer, a lotta whisky, and probably some pizza," was my answer.

Friday, October 27, 2017

Building Update #7

Funds on Deposit - 1,692,500              Days Left - 4

Greetings and Salutations,

You may notice that I've changed the heading at the top of this note from "Funds Raised" to "Funds on Deposit".  The reason for that is we're really in the final days of this gig and it's reached a point where it doesn't matter what people have promised us -- the only thing that matters, for the sake of this project, is what is in the bank come Halloween.  So, rather than including what people have said they're going to do, the number at the top of this note is only what is on deposit.  Don't worry though, we're not out of time by any means.  Even though today was the last day that I said would work for deposits, at the time I said I was allowing for a margin of error.  We've still got four days.  Wire transfers and cashiers checks will still be credited in time, even if they are wired (or handed off to me, for the checks), as late as the morning of the 31st.

Now that I've gotten the doom and gloom out of the way, here's the good news -- I'm almost sure we're gonna have the money in time.

I believe we're gonna get that building.

Building Update #6 - Very Close

Funds Raised - $1,622,500     Days Remaining - 4

Hello All,

Are you getting nervous?  I am, sort of.  We're very damn close to making it.  Remember, I'm aiming for $1,900,000 to allow $100,000 for closing costs, build out and repairs. We can close the deal at $1.8 million.  Which is $177,500 from where we are now.

I'm talking to a couple of people who might be able to do some bigger loans but I'm not going to hear from them 'till tomorrow.  Well, 'til Friday, which is technically today.  If I don't hear from them then, we might be able to come to an agreement on Saturday or Sunday but the funds can't move until Monday, when we have two days left.  That'll make for a nervous weekend, eh?

But, here's the thing -- even if we don't pull it off this time, there'll be another building, and we've proven that we can raise over one and a half million dollars in less than three weeks.

One.  And.  A.  Half.  Million.  Dollars.

That's a hell of an accomplishment and it'll serve us well if we have to do this again.

But I'm hoping we don't need to do this again.  Honestly, I feel optimistic.  We've done so much in the past week and we've got a whole weekend and two days ahead of us. Plus, I've still got a few tricks up my sleeves.  Something that both my former profession and 20 years in this business has taught me is to have a back-up plan . . . and a back-up for that . . . and a back-up for the second back-up.  Right now, we're still working on the primary plan, which is the one with the best overall outcome.  But it's not the only plan.

Anyway, enough about that.  Last word is this -- if you're on the fence, now's the time to decide if you want to make a loan.  And, if you've talked with me about a loan and haven't finished off the deal, get in touch and let's get finished -- I'm totally fine with, "We thought about it and we decided that it's not a good idea" but, not knowing where we stand is kind of hard.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Building Update #5

Funds Raised - $1,422,500     Days Remaining - 7

Hey Everyone,

OK.  Much better rested than last night but I've got to run out of here fast because I'm meant to be at Churchill pretty much . . . now.

You're all wondering about the inspections.  First off, they went well.  We had general building and sewer inspections plus a roofer came in to give a bid for replacing the roof (no surprise -- the roof does need to be replaced, but we expected that).

The general building inspector was the best I've ever seen.  His name is James Hicks and he is one of the partners at H.R. Wellington Construction.  He's been a builder for years and he's qualified to do both general and pest inspections.  He's also a medic and does volunteer search and rescue work, so we hit it off like a house-a-fire.

Bottom line is that it's a 1902 building with all that goes with it.  A little bit of dry rot on the siding, old breaker panels (not hard to replace and not urgent), and so forth.  The only two notable things were that the framing in the basement (that I mentioned to you all before) is, in fact, a bit funkier than I thought.  It looks like the job of abating dry-rot that was done is the 1970s wasn't top-notch and probably needs some fixing.  On the other hand, it didn't look like anything had moved much since that job was done, so this isn't one of those situation where a wall is tilting and going to keep tilting 'til it's fixed (or falls over).  But, it is a big enough thing that I think we'll be talking with the seller about a price reduction to make up for it.

The other thing that he called out was that there are some cracks in the retaining walls in the backyard.  There's a big tree that belongs to one of the neighbors that is right up against the wall and may be pushing on it.

Building Update #4

Funds Raised - $1,292,500     Days Remaining - 8

Dear Sponsors,

I was planning to give you a detailed update about the building inspections today (yesterday, actually, since it's 1:58 am), but here it is already Tuesday morning, and I've been going since 7:30 am.  I gotta say, I'm pretty beat.  If I try to get into specifics about the inspections, I'm going to make word-salad. The short version is that the inspections went really well; better than I could have anticipated.  I'm meeting my structural engineer and contractor to get some analysis and estimates on Wednesday and . . . . I'm going to tell you about the inspections tomorrow.

It was a good weekend for fund-raising as you can see.  And that's it for building news 'til I get some sleep.

But, some event reminders before I go:

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Building Update #3

Funds Raised - $825,000   Days Remaining - 11


I've got several bits of news, but I'll lead with the most important one.

Fund Raising
As you can see, the fund raising continues, albeit at a slower pace than at the start.  The slow down makes sense, actually.  At first, the loans were coming from people who were ready to go and, in some cases, they were people I had talked with in advance.  Now, it's people who need more time to think about it and make arrangements.  But, I'm not discouraged at all.  $825,000 are only the loans that I'm sure of -- either the lender has committed to making the loan or the funds are already in the bank.  There are another $400,000 in loans in which I'm still working out the final details for, but that I feel pretty confident about.  Finally, there are some other lenders that I still need to reach out to personally.  Bottom line, we're going to be close, but I'm not sure we're going to make by relying on only larger loans.

Considering that, I think it's time to open things up for smaller amounts.  My initial reason for looking for larger loans was the desire to keep the number of people involved to a minimum so that my bookkeeping work would be more manageable.  Not that it would be that big a job with 300 lenders but, I may have a few other things to work on in the coming months.

If you are in a position to offer a loan between $10,000 and $75,000, I'd love to talk with you about the details.  The general terms of the loan are 3% interest paid annually and the loan to be paid back in nine years (but I could potentially pay it off earlier).  The loans are secured by the building so they are pretty safe (barring a huge earthquake).  There is room for changes if you would like them (e.g. interest rate can be as low as 2% or as high as 4%, interest can be paid quarterly, and the term can be shorter or longer) and the amount can be anything from $10,000 and up.

In terms of transferring the funds to me, there are a couple of different deadlines, depending on how the money is coming.  Remember, if I don't have confirmed funds in the bank by October 31st, I'm going to have to cancel the deal.  Since that is only 11 days away, the latest that a personal check is sure to work will be noon on Monday, the 23rd (unless the check is from Bank of America; I'll explain that in a second).  Any later and the funds might not be confirmed by our bank in time for the 31st.  Checks from Bank of America are an exception since that's where the company accounts are located and the confirmation is instant.  As a result, BofA checks could be as late as Friday, the 27th. Electronic fund transfers should be sent by Thursday, the 26th, to be safe.  Cashier's checks and wire transfers can be delivered to me (in the case of cashier's checks) or sent (in the case of wire transfers) by Friday, the 27th.  All those dates are erring on the safe side but that's how I'd prefer to err.

As you can see, we need to move pretty quickly if this is going to work out.  I am available to meet with you anytime and anyplace in San Francisco to discuss details or to pick up checks.  I'm also available anytime by phone at 415 385-5968 to answer questions or merely discuss the loan.  If there is any information that will assist your decision, please don't hesitate to ask.  I'll also be around the shop all day tomorrow (Saturday) if you want to drop by and chat.

One last thing -- if the deal doesn't work out for any reason, I'll be returning the loan amounts with interest to date, within a week of October 31st, two weeks at the outside.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Building Update #2

Funds Raised - $650,000   Days Remaining - 13

Hey Folks,

On Monday I said that I'd go into the whole inspections and estimates part of the process later because it was a long post.  That follows but, if you're not interested in all those details, you can skip the end of this note.  But I do have some other stuff that might interest you.

First off, we're in the news again.  Both Hoodline and Mission Local posted pieces about what we're doing:
Mission Local - https://missionlocal.org/2017/10/saved-by-sponsorships-borderlands-books-now-aims-to-buy-a-building/
Hoodline - http://hoodline.com/2017/10/borderlands-books-moves-to-buy-recycled-records-building

Secondly, with Jeremy's invaluable help, I've put up a section on our website about this project.  There are some documents up there that give more details about the building. There's also a current picture.  If you looked at the place on Google street view it was a uniform (and ugly) gray color.  It's been painted since and the current picture is much more appealing.  Go to https://borderlands-books.com/building/  It's password protected -- if you want access, please drop me a line.   I'll be adding anything of interest, including some more pictures, up there as I get it.

Now, how about a deep dive into building inspections?

Building Update #1

Funds Raised - $500,000  Days Remaining - 15

Hi All,

I hope you had a nice weekend.  Mine was, as you might expect, pretty busy.  We've been selling books off-site all week at the various Litquake events around town, which . . . was some work.  We did 12 off-site events in 6 days.  On Friday we had three different events that we were at -- two of them at the same time.  And, on Wednesday, there were two simultaneous events at the same time as the Internet Archive anniversary party.  That would have been fine except Jude and I were both scheduled to work at the party.  So, Z'ev sold books at one event and Maddy sold them at the other while Jude and I worked the party.  I'm very glad that all the management folks at Borderlands are cross-trained to work in either the bookstore or the cafe.

But that was all just a warm-up for Saturday when we hosted two events as part of the Lit Crawl, one in the bookstore and one right afterwards in the cafe, each with four authors participating.  If that wasn't enough, Z'ev and I were so busy scheduling around all the events last week, we forgot to schedule extra staff at the cafe that evening.  Z'ev and Isabel did an impressive job of holding down the fort in the cafe, in spite of lines that went to the door at times.

Despite all the excitement, I managed to get a fair amount of work done on the building purchase.  As of now, our funding stands at $400,000 with another $100,000 in contingent funds.  I've also started several conversations that may lead to additional loans (one of them well over $100,000).  I'm not exactly relaxed but things do seem to be going in a positive way.

Now seems like a good time to give an overview of what we need to get done in the next 15 days.  The job falls into three parts; getting financing, setting up the legal structure, and getting inspections and estimates.  The discussion about inspection and estimates is long so I'm going to save that for my next update.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Sponsor Letter, October 13th 2017

My Dear Sponsors,

I have some very exciting news.  On Monday I submitted an offer to buy the building on Haight Street that I've been talking about.  And, on Wednesday morning, the offer was accepted.  It's possible we're going to have a permanent home for Borderlands!

The Building
Located just a bit east of Masonic Ave, the building is a three story Victorian built in 1902.  There are two large flats upstairs and a retail space on the ground floor.  There is also a backyard and a full basement.  It's a little bit smaller that our current spot but, by putting the office and storage in the basement and being smarter with the layout, I think we can fit all our current stock and more.  Sadly, there is no room to accommodate the cafe. (Please note -- that does not mean I'm planning on closing the cafe.  More on that later.)

The address of the store is 1373 Haight.  If you try to look at it on Google street view, the place that pops up is actually across the street so "turn" south.  Currently it's the location of Recycled Records but, when we move, we're not going to displace them.  The owner of the record shop owns the building and he's planning on retiring.  He'll be closing up shop and moving out shortly after the sale closes.  He's still open for now so, if you'd like to take a look at the place, you can.  But, if you decide to visit, please don't worry about the condition of the interior -- both the bookstore and the cafe were in much, much worse shape when we arrived.  When we're done, it will be beautiful.

The Catch
Here's the catch -- I need to raise a lot of money if this is going to happen.  Due to the price and having a very low down payment, the lenders that I've spoken to are not interested in financing the purchase.  So, I'm going to need personal loans for a significant portion of the price.  Having started on Monday to raise the money, I already have $265,000.  But I need to raise . . . $1,900,000 in total.

I don't know if this is going to be possible but I believe it is worth trying.  We have, including today, 19 days to get the money.  After 19 days, I cannot cancel the deal without losing our deposit.

On one hand, I think it's ridiculous for me to think that achieving this is even within the realm of possibility.

On the other hand, two and a half years ago, I was just about positive that we were going to close the shop.  If someone had told me what would happen when we started the sponsor program, I would have thought they were completely nuts.

I was talking with someone last night about this deal and they asked me if I was freaking out about it.  I realized that I wasn't.  There have been a few times in my life when it just didn't matter whether I succeeded or failed.  All that mattered was that I act with a clear mind and follow the course that I had set.  This is one of those times.

If we succeed, we will have removed the greatest obstacle that exists to my dream of creating a bookstore that can last and last and last.  On second thought, perhaps I should say, "our dream".

You're a sponsor because you want Borderlands to continue to exist.  In the 20 years that I've been in business, rent has steadily trended upwards in San Francisco.  If we don't ensure the cost of our location -- we will have to close at some point.  I don't know when it will be but I'm sure it will happen.  Only by owning it ourselves can we rely on the physical space which we must have to exist.

The Loan
So, let's give it a try, shall we?

I'm looking for lenders who can offer loans of $100,000 or more.  If you're one of those people, let me know by replying to this note or emailing me directly at abeatts@borderlands-books.com.

I'm flexible on the terms of the loan.  But I do have a rough outline of what is most desirable (and, I know what's impossible).  To give a decent return on a (relatively) small amount while also keeping the expense in the range that we can manage, I've been thinking of 3% interest.  To allow a reasonable amount of time to get our feet under us, a term of 9 years would be nice.  Paying interest-only makes the bookkeeping easy as well as suiting some other factors.  But, to be absolutely clear: none of that is set, including the interest rate.  I would take a lower rate and I'm willing to talk about higher rates.  In short, if you would be willing to consider that loan under terms that are to be determined, please get in touch and let's discuss it.  We've gotten this far by being imaginative and talking about ideas, it would be dumb to stop now.

If you would be interested in lending but have a smaller amount in mind, I appreciate that very much.  For now however, I'm trying to keep the total number of loans down by asking for a higher amount.  That may change as things move along.

The Last Word
I'm sure that you have a lot of questions:  When would we move?  How are you going to manage the upkeep?  What are the apartments upstairs like?  How has the process been so far? and so on.  I was going to write a big, long note that would try to answer all that stuff but I decided not to do that.  The important thing is to get the word out and start finding the loans.

So, instead of writing a enormous missive tonight, I'm going to spread all the info out over the next couple of weeks.  I normally don't send out more than one email per month but this is a special situation.  I figure you'd like to know how we're progressing so I'm going to be writing frequently until either the deal goes through or the deal dies.  (If frequent emails are bugging you, please don't unsubscribe -- just drop a note to sponsors@borderlands-books asking us to stop pestering you.  We'll temporarily remove you from the email list.)

The Real Last Word
If you have a personal policy of not lending money.
Or, if that sort of amount is completely out of your reach (it sure as hell would be for me, personally).
Or, if you think that what I'm doing is just a bad idea.
Or, . . . any of the thousands of reasons that you can't or won't make a loan.

Please, don't feel badly.  You sponsored Borderlands.  You and your compatriots are the only reason we're still around.  You've already done so much for us, we feel gratitude of a magnitude that we can't express.  There is no need to do more, unless you wish to and it is safe for you to do so.

Warm Regards,

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Sponsor Letter, October 3rd 2017

Dear Sponsors,

Advisory Group

One of the things I appreciate about you all is how willing you've been to give me advice.  I appreciate even more how good, cogent and considered that advice has been.  But, there are times when questions come up suddenly and need to be answered before the next Sponsor Note is scheduled.  Also, sometimes major questions come up that I need to have face-to-face discussions about (like last year when I was talking with small groups of sponsors about how to fund a building purchase).  So, I've decided to create an advisory group composed of sponsors.  There aren't any required qualifications aside from the willingness to reply to email promptly and come to monthly meetings in San Francisco. The members of the board will be asked to advise on a wide range of matters regarding the operation of the store and the sponsorship program.  Members may also be asked to volunteer to work on specific projects.  If you're interested in serving, please drop me an email and we'll go from there.

Building News

First off, thank you to everyone who wrote with their thoughts and advice about moving to Haight Street.  There were a couple of consistent comments that I received.  Many people felt that moving so much farther away from BART would be a problem.  I agree with that 100% but, proximity to BART is desirable enough that it affects building prices.  I don't want to move out of the Mission District but, we may not have a choice if we're going to purchase a building.  And I do think we need to buy a building if possible, for all the reasons I've discussed in the past.  On the bright side, a number of very public-transit-savvy sponsors pointed out that there are a number of pretty simple and direct bus options to get from BART to upper Haight.  Granted, the buses in San Francisco kind of suck but that's better than nothing.  My final conclusion is that the lack of BART access might be a deal breaker, but that's something I'm going to determine if and when it looks like we might be able to work a deal on a building.  The flip side of those comments is that there were also a number of folks who wrote me saying that upper Haight is much closer to them and that it would make it much easier to visit the shop.

Another comment was that the street situation on upper Haight is less than stellar.  The young street kids that panhandle in the area can be somewhat aggressive and there's a minority of them that are real trouble-makers.  I agree with that assessment completely but, I think that the actual threat is probably lower there than it is on Valencia St.  It is certainly lower there than it is on Mission Street.  On upper Haight the problem is mostly ne'er-do-well homeless kids.  In the Mission the problem is gang members, drug dealers, and armed robbers -- all folks who are much more low-profile than street kids and also profoundly more dangerous.  But, the comfort of our customers is something that needs to be considered and it's not fun to be aggressively panhandled.  So, I don't think that consideration is a deal-breaker but it certainly is a downside.

On the positive side of the equation, the neighborhood is more diverse from a shopping standpoint than the Mission. There are two other bookstores there, three music stores, great used clothing stores, and so on.  From a retail standpoint, it's the way Valencia Street was ten years ago. It is also more centrally located within the city.  And, of course, there the final advantage - it's a building of the right sort that we might be able to afford.

Overall, the response from you was slightly in favor of the location and so I'm going to keep pursuing it.  The building is supposed to hit the market on Monday so I should have some news about it in the next sponsor note.

Note:  As usual, to RSVP for any event, just reply to this email and we'll take care of the rest.

Jingle version:

Note:  Based on a suggestion at the General Meeting in March, we started a monthly game night at the cafe.  After a strong start, attendance has been dropping steadily and so we're going to stop doing it on a monthly basis.  Next year we'll certainly have at least one game night and we might consider doing it quarterly.

(1) Wednesday, October 11th at 5:00pm - Free tickets to The Internet Archive's anniversary party.

(2) Sunday, October 22nd at 2:00pm - Sponsor Picnic at Golden Gate Park. A (hopefully) sunny day in the park with grill and friends.

(3) Tuesday, October 24th at 7:00 pm - Cocktail night at Churchill.  Time to enjoy the company of fellow sponsors at a great little bar on Church and Market called Churchill (198 Church Street at Market).

(4) Saturday, November 4th at 3:00 pm - Sponsor's Scotch Tasting at the World Fantasy Convention in San Antonio, Texas.

(5) Saturday, November 4th at 9:00 pm - World Fantasy Convention party for Borderlands 20th Anniversary in San Antonio, Texas.

(6) Saturday, November 18th - Borderlands Books' 20th Anniversary Party!

(7) December, date TBA - Trip to Dickens Fair.

Magnum Opus version:

(1) Wednesday, October 11, 2017, 5:00-9:30pm - Free tickets to The Internet Archive's anniversary party at The Internet Archive, 300 Funston Ave. San Francisco.  From our friends at the Internet Archive comes this invitation which includes free admission for the first 100 sponsors to sign up using the special code VIPBORDERLANDS.  Direct link here: https://internetarchive20ctimemachine.eventbrite.com?discount=VIPBorderlands.

From their website, "We invite you to enter our 20th Century Time Machine to experience the audio, books, films, web sites, ephemera and software fast disappearing from our midst. We’ll be connecting the centuries -- transporting 20th century treasures to curious minds in the 21st.  Come explore the possibilities at our Annual Bash on Wednesday, October 11, 2017, from 5-9:30 pm.  We’ll kick off the evening with cocktails, food trucks and hands-on demos of our coolest collections.  Come scan a book, play in a virtual reality arcade, or spin a 78 rpm recording.  When you arrive, be sure to get your library card.  If you "check out" all the stations on your card, we'll reward you with a special Internet Archive gift.  Starting at 7 p.m., we'll unveil the latest media the Internet Archive has to offer, presented by the artists, writers, and scientists who lose themselves in our collections every day.  And to keep you dancing into the evening, DJ Phast Phreddie the Boogaloo Omnibus, will be spinning records from 8-9:30.  Come join our celebration!"

(2) Sunday, October 22nd at 2:00pm - Sponsor Picnic at Golden Gate Park
We are once again braving the outside world for a potluck cookout celebrating "Summer" in San Francisco.  We're taking our October Sponsor event to Golden Gate Park, on Sunday, October 22nd at 2pm.  We have high hopes that we won't be shivering and shrouded in fog.  We've reserved table #1 in Lindley Meadow.  Directions are at the link below, but the short version is that Lindley Meadow is on the south side of JFK Drive, across from the 30th Avenue and Fulton Street entrance in Golden Gate Park.  (At 30th Avenue and JFK, there is a sign for Lindley Meadow.) http://sfrecpark.org/destination/golden-gate-park/ggp-lindley-meadow-picnic-area/ .  Please note that several streets are closed in the park on Sundays and parking is often challenging.

Bring something to put on the grill or something to share as a side; bring your picnic blanket and a frisbee, and probably a jacket for possibly unpredictable summer weather.  Wine and beer are fine to bring but, please, no liquor and no glass, per the Park's request.  Friends and guests (including children) are super welcome so please do bring 'em along.  If you're planning on coming, please let us know at sponsors@borderlands-books.com.

(3) Tuesday, October 24, 2017 starting at 7:00pm - Cocktail night at Churchill.
Sponsor Cocktail night continues at Churchill (198 Church Street at Market) <http://www.churchillsf.com/>; some combination of us will be there from at least 7:00 pm - 10:00 pm.  No need to RSVP and any number of guests and friends are welcome.  The bar is INCREDIBLY convenient to public transit -- the MUNI Metro Underground (via F, K, L, and M lines at Church Street,) and J and N lines stop less than a block away.

(4) Saturday, November 4th at 3:00 pm - Sponsor's Scotch Tasting at the World Fantasy Convention in San Antonio, Texas.
As usual, we'll be hosting a Scotch tasting for our sponsors and their guests at the World Fantasy Convention this year. We don't have the room number yet but, if you'll drop me an email and let me know that you'd like to attend, I'll make sure to get you that information as soon as I have it. You can just reply to this note and tell me that you'll be coming. You're welcome to bring a guest or two if you like.

(5) Saturday, November 4th at 9:00 pm - World Fantasy Convention party for Borderlands 20th Anniversary in San Antonio, Texas.
In addition to our private party in the afternoon, we'll be having a public one Saturday evening at the convention to celebrate our 20th anniversary.  I think it'll be a lot of fun (our convention parties usually are) and I hope that, if you're going to be at the con, you'll make time to attend.

(6) Saturday, November 18th - Borderlands Books 20th Anniversary Party!
As I mentioned at the beginning of this note, it's thanks to all of you that we get to celebrate 20 years in business. We're still nailing down all the details for the party but we've decided on a couple of things.  There will be a regular-customers only pre-party and sale starting at 10 am.  You'll need a password to get in (which I'll be sending out in the November note and in the newsletter) and we'll have Mimosas, snacks, some special deals, a store-wide 10% off sale, and we'll unveil our commemorative 20th Anniversary hoodie.  At noon we'll open to the general public and we've got some fun stuff planned for that part of the day including many, many authors signing their work (the full list is to come and it's going to be a long, long one) and, probably, some live music.  Then at six we'll close up to get ready for the Sponsor Social, which will start at 7 pm as usual.  I'm still planning the details of that part but there'll be some killer food for sure and some special cocktails.  And, if that's not enough for you, at 11 pm when that party stops, the after-party will move across the street to the Phoenix Pub where we'll close the place.  As I said last month -- this is going to be epic.

(7) December, date TBA - Trip to Dickens Fair.
We're putting together a group trip to Dicken's Fair <https://dickensfair.com>.  Scott and I are still working out the details but the trip will be sometime in the first half of December and we'll have some sort of discounted tickets (that detail is still being worked out -- and thank you to all our sponsors who are affiliated with the Fair for all the possible hook-ups for those tickets).  Look for more details in the next sponsor note.