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California's 'Books Inc': Reinvigorating the Traditional Bookstore

Picture of Divine Edem
Updated: 7 November 2016
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For most, the go-to bookstore is the mega-chain Barnes & Noble, the largest retail bookseller in the US. For the people who don’t want to lift a finger, the go-to bookstore is the e-commerce mecca, Amazon.com. However, for the Bay Area, a popular independent bookstore offers the feeling of sanctity mixed with an exquisite juxtaposition of an old bookstore with the modernity of its range. We take a look at one particular cluster of bookshops reigniting the idea of old-school book buying.
Interior Shot
Courtesy Divine Edem

Books Inc., founded in 1851, remains true to the original idea of the bookstore by selling an array of books everyone and anyone can enjoy, from its monstrous photograph book collection – for everyone’s inner photographer – to its multiple stacks and shelves of indie books saved for those looking for little adventures and sparks in their reading repertoire. Since opening the doors of the first Books Inc. in Shasta City, California, the independent book retailer has branched out far across various aspects of the Bay Area, ranging from San Francisco to Berkeley to Palo Alto.

For Palo Alto, Books Inc. serves as the main getaway for book lovers. When you enter the door, this nostalgic sensation fills your mind. The refreshing scent of hardcover books tickles your nose as you peek through the collection of volumes set right in the center of the store. Employees take the time to help and converse with their customers whether they are little kids, teenagers, grown adults, or old-timers who have been around the block when it comes to perusing the wooden shelves of their favorite bookstores.

Interior Shot
Courtesy Divine Edem

Books Inc. holds events that cater to numerous interests. On Saturdays, the Palo Alto store hosts Saturday Story Time for the young children. Periodically, it invites critically acclaimed authors to talk to individuals interested in pursuing careers in writing fiction or non-fiction. In addition, in the Alameda branch, the manager Nick Petrulakis hosts ‘Drinks with Nick’ in which he offers up his favorite book-cocktail combinations at least once a month.

When traveling to the Bay Area, Books Inc. operates as a must on the to-do list to gain that northern California experience. The stores have a unique way of making customers, new and old, feel at home with its calming aesthetic and overwhelmingly phenomenal appreciation for the simplicity of books.

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