Sisters Bea and Leah Koch are building the bookstore of their dreams. Opening March 2016 in L.A., The Ripped Bodice will deal exclusively in romance novels. The Kochs also have plans for a subscription-based service, the Minerva Library, which will provide members with new books and trinkets on a monthly basis.
The Ripped Bodice is currently in Kickstarter mode, with — at the time of this writing — roughly $38,000 of a target $90,000 funded. Despite being over one-third of the way to their goal, the Kochs haven't yet drawn in enough to cover the $57,000 projected cost of inventory.
If the venture seems bloated and doomed to fail, don't place any bets just yet. As the sisters point out, romance is "the best selling genre in North America, to the tune of $1.08 billion in 2013." And while stereotypes attached to romance novels — that they're lite pornography with zero literary value read by the bored, uneducated, and unfulfilled — may drive potential investors away, that same stigma could very well guarantee The Ripped Bodice's success. The Koch sisters' bookstore provides a high-demand service to an under-supplied niche market.
Of The Ripped Bodice's 22 tiers, six have already sold out. Three spaces marked Limited are still available for those willing to lay down large for the Kochs' cause. But even small amounts of cash yield interesting thank-you rewards for romance novel enthusiasts, including totes, hats, and sweatshirts emblazoned with "Fine Smut" and "Smart Girls Read Romance."
For more information on the Koch sisters and their dream bookstore, check out The Ripped Bodice website.