Debbie's World of Books
My book reviews, book news & random rants

What I Want To See in My Indie Bookstore

January 31st, 2012 by Debbie's World of Books

One of my local indie bookstores, Kepler’s, sent out a survey the other week asking what do people want to see at their bookstore in order to help them better compete in this economy.  There were so many things I wanted to see I actually ended up turning in the survey twice because I kept remembering other things I wanted to add.  That weekend I went away for a girls getaway up in Sonoma, CA.  I was nervous with it being my first time really being away from the kids for more than a day but I had a great time. Sonoma’s historic down town was so cute and other than a Ben & Jerry’s there were no chain stores.  It was so cool seeing what all these little boutiques carried and I had an interesting conversation with one of my friends about indie bookstores.  One thing we agreed upon was they need to embrace being an independent bookstore and not try to be Amazon or Barnes and Nobles.

I still remember my first time walking into Kepler’s and being amazed by how homey it felt and when I walked into the children’s books area my jaw dropped.  It was the cutest area with an amazing array of children’s books on display and adorable little tables and chairs for kids to sit at and browse through books.  It just invited you to settle in and take your time deciding what book to buy.  When I heard Kepler’s was renovating and creating a new area for author visits (another awesome aspect of Kepler’s) I was first excited and then I heard it was going to be eating into the children’s book area.  I was nervous how the new layout would be and didn’t have enough time to make it back out to Kepler’s until the holidays.  Some of my friends and I had a holiday book swap for our kids instead of doing other gifts.  I thought this was the perfect opportunity to head over to Kepler’s.  Both the Borders and Barnes and Nobles near my home had closed and while I could order from Amazon I really missed physically browsing through books.  So off I went and was so disappointed with the changes!  The children’s section seemed so much tinier, there was no real area that invited you to sit down and browse and instead of the quirky, different and not quite main stream books all the books I saw were more of the “bestseller” types of books.  Yes, they are books I was interested in reading to my daughter but they were also the books that I could have just as easily ordered from Amazon.  I went to Kepler’s because I was looking for some unique picks.  It took awhile but I finally found a couple books to buy but I left the store feeling dissatisfied.

After walking around Sonoma’s downtown and browsing in several children’s toy store boutiques, the Fair Trade store’s children’s area and one of their bookstores I came across so many amazing looking books that I had never heard of before.  This was exactly what I was hoping to find at Kepler’s.  The books were a little more off beat, published more than a few years back and ones that I never heard of before.  I found out one of the illustrators was even a local from Sonoma which is always nice.  This is where I really think the added value of an indie bookstore comes in.  I don’t go into an indie to buy the best seller.  I go into them to find those hidden jewels.  I really hope Kepler’s will return to their roots and embrace what distinguishes them from the big boy stores.

That being said I just have to mention these great sounding books I came across.  I wish I could have afforded to buy them all but at least I have them on my list to buy whenever I have a few dollars to spare.

This is the Way We Go to School by Edith Baer

Summary from Some children walk to school; others ride a bus. Children go by ferry in New York, vaporetto in Italy, trolley car in San Francisco, and helicopter in the Alaskan Tundra. With fun-filled rhymes and colorful illustrations, children will discover just how much fun getting to school can be.

Somewhere in the World Right Now by Stacey Schuett

Since my daughter has been on her space/solar system kick she has found it fascinating that while it’s night time here it is actually day time on the other side of the world and vice versa.  So when I browsed through this book I immediately wanted to get it to read to my daughter.  It talks about all the different things children around the world are doing at the same moment whether it be getting ready for bed or getting ready to go to school.

On the Same Day In March: A Tour of the World’s Weather by Marilyn Singer

This was another book I thought my daughter would enjoy as it will surprise her that on the same day it could be cold and snowy somewhere and warm and sunny somewhere else.

Let’s Do Nothing by Tony Fucile

Summary from Frankie and Sal have already played every sport and board game invented, baked and eaten batches of cookies, and painted a zillion pictures. What’s left to do? Nothing! Ten seconds of nothing! Can they do it? Can they act like stone statues in the park? Can they simply hold their breath and not blink an eye? With a wink to the reader and a command of visual humor, feature film animator Tony Fucile demonstrates the Zen-like art of doing nothing…oops! Couldn’t do it!

I flipped through this one and cracked up laughing.  I think my daughter would love it and it also is nice that Tony Fucile is a local resident.

Star Trek Book of Opposites by David Borgenicht


WITH THE HELP OF Kirk, Spok, McCoy, and two dozen colorful pictures from across the galaxy, teach your children the meaning of big and little, hot and cold, apart and together, and much more!

I had never heard of this book before and it totally appealed to my geeky side and I knew the perfect friend to buy it for when she finally has kids.  The examples are perfect for the trekkie fans like “1 tribble” vs “many tribbles”.

So I really need to thank the wonderful store owners of Sonoma who introduced me to all these books I would likely have never come across otherwise!  I wish I had written down all of their store names but if you are ever walking around downtown Sonoma you can’t miss them.

What I Love About Kepler’s

I can’t end this post without saying that I still love Kepler’s Books and probably my favorite aspect is their author visits.  Thanks to Angela’s wonderful work in the YA department I’ve had to chance to meet some of my favorite authors like Melissa de la Cruz, Scott Westerfeld, Richelle Mead and many, many more.  If you have not been to Kepler’s before definitely stop in.  And if you are a YA fan check out the events at local book stores in the Bay Area here.

Posted in Books

One Response

  1. Kailana

    Book of Opposites is rather cute, huh?

    Sadly my bookstore is turning more and more into a gift store to compete with the economy. I swear every time I am there I find less books and more misc things. Sad…

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