Here at Atelier26, we love shining a light on America's best independent booksellers. Independents and their staff are in the business of knowing their neighborhoods, clientele, and clientele's particular tastes (a far cry from the M.O. of Amazon or the chains). Indies thereby do a profound service to their communities -- and, by ripple effect, to the larger culture in our country. It's no stretch to say that vitality of the indies means vitality for democratic culture itself, which begins in and consists of (what else?) neighborhoods! 

Our latest Featured Indie is Books Inc, in the Bay Area.

What would you do if you struck it rich? For us here at Ateler26 HQ, it’s a no-brainer. Open a bookstore, of course! So we have an immediate trans-chronological fondness for a fellow named Anton Roman, who, in the thick of the California Gold Rush back in 1851, unearthed a fortune in Shasta City, then promptly hung out his shingle as a bookseller. “That small bookstore,” as the keepers of the history tell it nowadays, “was moved, bought, sold, burned, rebuilt, renamed and became Books Inc., as we know it today, in 1946.” 

Thus can Books Inc make its particular claim of honor as “The West’s Oldest Independent Bookseller.” But today’s Books Inc diadem of twelve precious Bay Area stores has far more going for it than historical lineage. To wit,

Resiliency: In 1996, that apocalyptic season when “the national chain stores were discovering and colonizing the West Coast,” Books Inc was driven to close ten of its twelve locations and file Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Fear not, dear reader, for the following year, thanks to new computerized inventories and loads of indie bookselling savvy, the company was already growing again, with four stores back in operation.

A Commitment to Real Bookselling: The external focus of Books Inc. is now and always has been customer service. The internal objective is to train the next generation of booksellers.”

A Significant Regional Presence: Did we mention that there are twelve Books Inc locations, from Palo Alto to Berkeley and Alameda?

A Dynamite Events Lineup (“The Experience You Can’t Download!”): A glance at a recent Books Inc event calendar reveals as many as eight in-store author appearances occurring simultaneously in a single day—not to mention each store’s regular book clubs. (We were honored to have Books Inc Palo host our launch event for Harriet Scott Chessman’s The Beauty of Ordinary Things.)

An Illustrated Love Letter by Beloved Children’s Author Todd Parr:

Us too, Books Inc, us too!

Atelier26 is proud to report that Harriet Scott Chessman's The Beauty of Ordinary Things is in stock at Books Inc.