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A New Vision ... Same Values

As longtime owners of DIESEL, A Bookstore here in Oakland, Alison Reid and John Evans have seen the industry grow, become threatened, and rise again. One lesson they’ve learned: if you don’t shake things up yourself, it’s only a matter of time before somebody else shakes it up for you. 
They believe they’ve found in Brad Johnson not only a bookseller they could mold into the current store manager, but one to whom they'd like to sell the store. “We are ready to pass the torch to him,” Evans announces proudly, “to carry on this rich and storied tradition, in this wonderful neighborhood that has sustained us, and that we have helped to sustain as well.” 
As you've no doubt already experienced at the store (or perhaps read about online), Brad shares his mentors’ passion about bookselling:

"Good bookstores are not only profitable businesses, but are proven cultural institutions. This is all the more true today. The current political situation has been and will continue to be a profound shock on multiple levels. But it also deeply affirms what it is we do and stand for. The relief in peoples’ eyes when I asked them in the days after the election, ‘How are you holding up?’ cements the value of this space. It’s a place of commerce, but our goods are ideas and empathy. Neighborhood bookstores offer intellectual sustenance to some; safe haven for others. Our core values are conversation and community — which means openness, diversity, and change. We need these more than ever.”

The most obvious change customers can expect is a change in name. “I’m an unabashed cheerleader for the East Bay. How better to illustrate this than to wed in a store name my affection for where I am with what I do.”

With your help, DIESEL, A Bookstore will become East Bay Booksellers

Though this transition comes from a position of health and profitability, it comes with sizable expenses and the need for capital. A firm believer that a bookstore is only as vibrant as the community supporting it, Brad is appealing to Oakland and beyond to support East Bay Booksellers in the form of community loans.


Drawing from the inspirational success of Greenlight Bookstore in Brooklyn, the Community Lender program differs from crowdfunding models like Kickstarter or IndieGoGo by inviting loans of $1,000 or more to East Bay Booksellers.
  • Loans are are legally administrated through a simple loan document and promissory note.
  • Loans will be repaid in quarterly payments over five to ten years. (Repayment begins one year after the new store’s opening date, which is still to be determined, allowing East Bay Booksellers to hit the ground running with a short grace period.)
  • Annually compounded return rates for all loans will be between 1.5% and 4% (loan term and rate are chosen by the lender, and are private).
  • If the necessary community lending amount is not achieved, all funds raised will be promptly returned, and DIESEL, A Bookstore in Oakland continues as it was. 
We want to emphasize: this is coming from a place of health and excitement for a vision of the store's future -- one that we hope you might share and help us achieve!
For more details about the community loan program, DIESEL’s transition, or independent bookselling in general, see East Bay Booksellers' website (and be sure to follow them on Twitter). 

You are also invited to an informational meeting at the store immediately following DIESEL's Customer Appreciation Day, on Sunday, November 20th at 5pm. 

Interested in participating? Have questions? Contact Brad at He's happy to show you the loan agreements, discuss his business plan, and answer questions. 

Turbulent times call for exciting changes!

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DIESEL, A Bookstore · 5433 College Ave · Oakland, CA 94618 · USA