and other locations in the bay area–this is where I first saw my 1st novel!
The newest bookstore on my block is actually one that’s been around for ages. Books Inc. in Palo Alto was the store where I first saw my debut novel actually on a bookstore shelf – or not even on a shelf, but at a table at the front of the store. My husband, Mac, saw it first. He phoned me and I rushed over and made quite a scene blubbering over the fact of my book – my book! – actually being something a stranger might read. The staff, then as now, were wonderfully indulgent.
So the best thing about the new Books Inc. in Palo Alto is that the staff from that original mall location came over to their lovely new one just a mile from my house. They still don’t frown when you bring in your cup of coffee (from the Peet’s two doors down – but please don’t spill on the books!), and when you leave your little bag of beans behind, they hold it until you return.
Eric, who runs the store, is the best kind of sweet guy – an amazingly well-read one! I’d name everyone else, too, but I’d feel dreadful if I left someone out because they are all terrific. But here’s one example of how astute they are as readers: when I walked into the store one Sunday with a cup of Peet’s coffee in my hand, Jason (in the picture) asked if I’d named the Mrs. Peets – a minor character in my novel, The Wednesday Sisters – after Peet’s coffee shop. Clearly I did on some level, although not a conscious one: I do a lot of writing at the Town & Country Pete’s. Ask any of the Books Inc. booksellers what they’re reading, and you’ll learn a whole lot about books – perhaps even the ones you’ve written!
The inside of Palo Alto Books Inc. is clean and light and inviting, and still somehow cozy, too. They started their author reading series out with a bang – New York Times bestseller Michelle Richmond (The Year of Fog; No One You Know) – and have since hosted wonderful authors like Jean Hanff Korelitz (Admission). Other events include a regular picture book pals group, a graphic novel group, a book group for 9-12 year olds, and my personal favorite, Margie’s Fourth Tuesday group (which is reading Katie Crouch’s Girls in Trucks this month). They just started a store blog, so even if you don’t live in the San Francisco Bay area, you can see what Books Inc. is saying about books.
And it’s close enough that I can walk to it. How cool is that? My dog Frodo likes to come, but that’s dangerous; he’ll sit quietly tied to the bench for the time it takes me to buy a quick book, but not for the extra browsing and chatting time I never can resist when I’m in the lovely new Palo Alto Books Inc. – Meg
Books Inc. in Palo Alto is at Town & Country shopping center, and they have stores all over the San Francisco Bay Area. They’re on Twitter at @booksincpa @booksincberk and @booksincevents
I do occasional posts highlighting independent booksellers, who are so important to helping new literary voices find their audiences; the independents–especially those in the bay area–were instrumental in helping me find mine. If you have a favorite bookstore, please email me and I’ll do my best to have it featured here.