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OK, I know that there are tragedies much greater than this happening elsewhere in the world right now. But dammit — Kepler's is dead! They went out of business this morning.

They were a great, big, comfortable independent bookstore. They were right near the Menlo Park train station, there was plenty of parking, there was a good cafe next door (which is still there, but who knows for how long with the bookstore dead), and I loved going there with friends. I saw great authors read there: Ursula K. Le Guin, Jeffrey Eugenides, Diane Ackerman. I was looking forward to seeing Neil Gaiman read from Anansi Boys there in a month. They had online ordering and free local delivery. Their employees wrote mini-reviews of their favorite books and stuck them to the bookshelves. They had a very complete magazine department, too.

booksense.com, an association of independent bookstores, tells me that the next closest general interest independent bookstore (affiliated with booksense.com) is Books Inc. in Burlingame. But it's a chain with 10 locations, so not really the same thing.

There are still lots of great bookstores in the SF Bay Area. But - WAAH. IT'S NOT FAIR. [*stomps*]

Comments

( 27 comments — Leave a comment )
karenkay
Sep. 1st, 2005 02:35 am (UTC)
OMG!

I am stunned. This is horrible. Ugh.

You must move to Austin.:)
firecat
Sep. 1st, 2005 02:53 am (UTC)
I'll do it as soon as they have Bay Area weather in Austin. ;-)
karenkay
Sep. 1st, 2005 02:59 am (UTC)
Wimp!:)

They do have independent bookstores, however. I haven't used them much, being so poor. But all the people in my public library know me by name.
abostick59
Sep. 1st, 2005 09:37 pm (UTC)
The problem with Austin, aside from its non-Bay-Area climate, is that it is entirely surrounded by Texas.
(Deleted comment)
firecat
Sep. 1st, 2005 02:54 am (UTC)
I did that Saturday.
(Deleted comment)
firecat
Sep. 1st, 2005 02:57 am (UTC)
I have two Barnes & Nobles and one or two Borders within 5 miles of me.
liveavatar
Sep. 1st, 2005 02:47 am (UTC)
Well, you know what *I* think. :\

Damn it.
firecat
Sep. 1st, 2005 02:58 am (UTC)
Yep. I found out about it on ba.food, and when I went to LJ there were three rants about it already on my friends page, but I had to post my own rant.
daltong
Sep. 1st, 2005 03:11 am (UTC)
Holy moley. I didn't realize they were that desperate. I'm going to miss them.
epi_lj
Sep. 1st, 2005 03:44 am (UTC)
Gahh. :( I know how much you liked them. I've had favourite independent stores shut down before, and it's more of a blow than people might think. You kind of feel when you deal with an independent bookstore for a long time that you're part of their enterprise, interwoven with their destiny in some sense. Or I do, at least.
firecat
Sep. 1st, 2005 11:00 pm (UTC)
Well said. Yeah.
phinnia
Sep. 1st, 2005 03:51 am (UTC)
This is why I always shop at Powells'. (That and well, they're just cool.)
firecat
Sep. 1st, 2005 11:06 pm (UTC)
Powell's is cool, but I don't shop there because it's not local to me. I'll probably switch to online ordering from another local independent, through booksense.com.
vito_excalibur
Sep. 1st, 2005 03:54 am (UTC)
I know! I'm so sad!

I was last there just before my trip, buying all my travel books. I'm glad I got to go one more time before it closed. But they were ordering me a book & now I'll never get it. :(
ckd
Sep. 1st, 2005 04:07 am (UTC)
Or, to give a partial Boston area list: RIP Wordsworth (survived by the kids' books portion), Globe Corner (may rise again in the Back Bay), Avenue Victor Hugo...the new Porter Square Books is a sign of hope, though.
vixter
Sep. 1st, 2005 04:26 am (UTC)
WTF?
First NOLA and now Keplar's. Western civilization is crumbling.

I wonder if their rent increased and priced them out. It happened to a friends restaurant in Menlo Park.

I was there a few weeks ago. Everything seemed normal.
red_frog
Sep. 1st, 2005 05:22 am (UTC)
Re: WTF?
Could be. God knows they were always crowded enough when I was down there. I'm sorry to hear that they're gone. :(
firecat
Sep. 1st, 2005 11:09 pm (UTC)
Re: WTF?
The article I read in the palo alto newspaper mentioned something about rent, and I guess a general bleeding of funds starting with the dot.bomb.
rmjwell
Sep. 1st, 2005 04:46 am (UTC)
Well... fuck.
baerana
Sep. 1st, 2005 07:07 am (UTC)
I'm really sorry. Man, when I lived in Hoboken, the two used bookstores the town had closed. When the first closed, it hurt. When the second closed, it killed. so, I totally understand your pain :)
pir_anha
Sep. 2nd, 2005 01:09 am (UTC)
Re: (SF Bay Area interest only) ** insert swear words here **
yeah, the *poing* mentioned it last night. that really sucks; i went there everytime i was in the area.

wonder what happened. *grump*.
leback
Sep. 2nd, 2005 02:16 am (UTC)
Kepler's was far and away my favorite independent bookstore around here. I am shocked that they closed, and shocked that they didn't let it be known this was coming much sooner. I can't help wondering whether, had more people known they were at risk, it would have been possible for them to rally the support to stay open. I know I would've made more of a point of shopping there.

For what it's worth, I don't know how well you know the Burlingame Books, Inc., but IME, the one in Mountain View is pretty decent. They still feel like an independent bookstore to me, and I like their selection a lot better than I ever liked the selection at the Printer's, Inc. that used to be in that spot.
firecat
Sep. 2nd, 2005 03:26 am (UTC)
I've never been in the Burlingame Books, Inc. The one in Mt View is OK, although not as good as the late lamented Palo Alto Printers, Inc.

Half Moon Bay's Moon News is a very good bookstore.
gregbo
Sep. 2nd, 2005 06:37 am (UTC)
Sigh ... Actually, I never shopped there much. I agree that the Mtn View Books Inc. is ok, but not as good as the old Palo Alto Printers Inc. Actually, I like to shop at Bookbuyers next door to Books Inc. in Mtn View.

I guess the Stanford bookstores don't exactly count as "independent." I like their selections, especially of tech books, even though they're pricey.
firecat
Sep. 2nd, 2005 05:37 pm (UTC)
University bookstores aren't independent, but they aren't chains either, and they're not what is driving independent bookstores out of business. (Most university towns support bookstores other than the university bookstore.) I like university bookstores because they carry books that most general bookstores (even independents) don't.

Thanks for the pointer to BookBuyers - turns out they have an online component for their used books ( http://www.bookbuyers.com/online.php ); I'm going to preferentially use them for used book searches from now on.
( 27 comments — Leave a comment )

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