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 Orinda Books in Orinda, California.

Nestled into the rolling hills of the east San Francisco Bay about fifteen minutes by car from Berkeley, Orinda is a flourishing upscale community with a treasure of an indie at its heart. Orinda Books, now in its 37th year, is the largest indie bookstore in Contra Costa County (which is itself the ninth largest county in the Golden State). Hosting an average of 30 author events each year, it’s also one of California’s most quietly dynamic bastions of literary culture.

This capacious 4,500 square-foot store offers more than 14,000 titles on its beautifully arranged shelves and tables. Much of the inventory is handpicked in the best curatorial style by a staff of passionate, knowledgeable readers who love to discover, talk about, and sell books. Founding owner Janet Boreta is clear-sighted about the virtues essential to a thriving local bookstore. A good bookseller, she has said, should "be really well read, talk about books all the time, give great advice about books, and serve as a community gathering place."* Her store offers this all on a daily basis, and the East Bay is luckier for it.
Harriet Scott Chessman will read from The Beauty of Ordinary Things at Orinda Books on Saturday, November 23rd at 2:00 p.m. (more info here)

*source: http://news.bookweb.org/news/orinda-books-celebrates-30-years