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  • Asbury Book Cooperative (ABC) is an outgrowth of Words!, which has been a staple of downtown Asbury Park since 2008. Words! has become a center for local youth and community arts events including workshops, book clubs, readings, signings, parties, & story times for kids. We are excited to see this little-bookstore-that-could evolve into a cooperative, a place that is sustained by and for the Asbury community. Words! is evolving into the Asbury Book Cooperative. Many things will remain the same at this independent bookstore but the membership cooperative approach will extend and enrich community involvement. We see the transition to a community-owned cooperative as an opportunity for people to step up and join efforts in keeping this unique and precious community resource alive and helping it to thrive, financially and otherwise.
    Over the last few years, our community has become really active in the space, hosting story times, readings, book releases, signings, book clubs, open mics, roundtables, art shows, comedy, parties, spelling bees, etc.  So, the space has organically evolved into something that feels community-run.  We see the transition to a cooperative as a way to "put a ring on it", if you will.  Our community wants the bookstore to be a community space and the community-owned co-op model allows that to happen.
    There are several ways to become a member of ABC. Each member pay an annual fee or volunteers hours for membership, which grants certain benefits, discounts, and voting rights. Each member gets one vote at the annual meeting, no matter their level of membership. The board of directors will be a decision-making body with rotating roles in which they serve for two-year terms. Members of the bookstore will nominate and vote on the board of directors at the annual meeting. The board will be comprised of co-op members who will help ensure the success of the bookstore through promotion of and commitment to the co-op. We are excited to join the growing number of bookstores transitioning to cooperatives across the country. We aim to complete the transition by early May of 2020.
    Want to be part of the cooperative?  It's a choose-your-membership adventure!  We have created a variety of levels so everyone can find one that works for them. You learn more about membership types and benefits and can purchase your membership on the "Get Involved" page. We're also looking for donors who will make an even bigger commitment and financially underwrite our transition costs, which we estimate at about $100,000. They are our angel donors. Some of the categories that our angel donors can contribute to are:Rent Employee Salaries Store improvements for events and books Increased Inventory Website.
    If you are an angel donor, or you know an angel donor who is interested in keeping this precious community resource thriving, please reach out to us at You can also make a one time, non-recurring donation on our "Get Involved" page. INTERESTED IN HELPING? Do you have experience with cooperatives, social media, event planning? Do you have the interest and/or skills to help transition the bookstore to a co-op? Please reach out to We'd love to hear from you.