The Mission District's Modern Times Bookstore, which has catered to progressive, Spanish-speaking and LGBT communities for 39 years, may become a casualty of the financial crisis and other factors, reports Michael Lucas for El Tecolote. The store's operations coordinator, Kermit Playfoot, told El Tecolote that Modern Times had no intention of closing its doors. But the shop is hurting. The amount of money it needs to stay in business has not been disclosed to the public, although bookstore staff members posted a letter on their website asking for community support, after initially sending the letter to the store's membership base. Modern Times staff members say they need help staying afloat until the more traditionally lucrative fall and winter months. El Tecolote reports that the rising cost of rent for small businesses on Valencia Street, combined with the current economic downturn, has added to the stress Modern Times has felt since Amazon became a major competitor in the mid-1990s. Hut Landon, executive director of the Northern California Independent Booksellers Association, told El Tecolote, "Amazon remains the evil empire with their policy of sales tax avoidance that gives them a huge competitive advantage and costs the state over $100 million in revenue annually."

"Part of what we were and have always been — and part of the original vision — is that we would help to make voices that are not always heard, heard," said Ruth Mahaney, who started working at Modern Times in 1973. "One of the things that I worry about if we close is that I know it is a very hard time in the world these days, and there is so much wrong, and it is easy to get depressed. Modern Times is like this thing that is holding on. It is a symbol of a community and a movement that is really fighting for justice."