This may seem off-topic, but nothing involving an independent bookstore is off-topic to a writer. If you’ve never been to Kepler’s in Menlo Park (just south of San Francisco)–well, you may have missed an opportunity to visit one of the finest bookstores in the country. The shop closed unexpectedly a few weeks ago after the owner announced that he could no longer pay the rent on the space.
I just can’t tell you how sad and awful this is. A bookstore like Kepler’s is a treasure. If I were to list my peak bookstore experiences, they would include the wonderful days I’ve spent at Powell’s in Portland, Kepler’s, the incomparable Bookshop Santa Cruz, and just a few others.
Now some investors have come forward in an attempt to save the bookstore. Follow this link to keep on top of the latest developments.
What can you do to save Kepler’s or your own beloved independent bookstore? Two things:
First, buy all your books from them. If you see a book online that you’d like to own, call or e-mail your local shop and they’ll order it for you. Usually they can get a book in just a few days. If you see a book in a grocery store or some non-indie bookstore setting, jot down the title and get it from your local independent. This is easy, folks. I promise.
Second, increase your book-buying by giving more books as gifts. Take your holiday budget and walk into the bookstore with it. I promise you’ll walk out with a satisfyingly heavy bag of gifts for everyone on your list. Think of all the good you’ll be doing: You’ll support your local independent bookstore, authors, illustrators, and maybe even some great indie publishers. Let me tell you, the publishing biz is tough. If you want to keep it interesting and independent, support it with your dollars. And everyone will appreciate getting a book from you. Don’t worry if they’ve read it already. It’s the thought that counts, folks.
And since we are, ostensibly, talking about gardening, here are a couple of my favorite garden bookstores:
University Bookstore in Seattle, believe it or not, has one of the finest gardening sections I’ve ever seen.
Flora and Fauna Books, also in Seattle, has an incredible selection and a very dedicated and knowledgeable owner. Don’t miss it.