San Francisco Chronicle: The end—or is it?

Heidi Benson’s article in Sunday’s San Francisco Chronicle describes the current efforts to save Kepler’s and begins:

It wasn’t just a bookstore: It was a verb.

Strolling through Kepler’s Books in Menlo Park — after dinner or a movie — was once called “keppling” by one die-hard fan of the Menlo Park store. But all keppling ceased on Aug. 31 when the store abruptly closed after a half-century in business.

Now there’s a chance that Kepler’s, and “keppling,” may return to Menlo Park, thanks to fans of the store — including a fired-up group of potential investors and a lone ranger who launched an online life raft — who have mobilized to try to reopen its doors.

Click here for the full article, which is required reading for anyone interested in saving the Kepler’s.


  1. Blake Southwood

    Kepler’s Bookstore hasn’t left because we won’t let it. Instead of paying a 30k monthly rent for the location have the investors buy the whole property so that you have control. The other option is to move to a location that has half the rent or less. The real problem with Kepler’s has been insufficient parking. I propose that Kepler’s move to Stanford Mall and I’m sure that Cafe Barrone will follow in step. The two are deeply entwined for their survival.

  2. David Koehn

    Hey, this is so great! I have cross posted over at TGAP. I do hope Kepler’s makes it! Onward!

  3. Richard Lindsay

    One of the saddest and most disappointing news items I have read recently is the pending
    demise of one of the finest bookstores in the nation. I am 70 years old, have lived and
    traveled all over this country and abroad, am the product of a classical education with a
    deep and broad education in English, European, and American literature, as well as having
    been raised in a family of college-educated people including my resident maternal
    grandmother who – as a retired teacher – imbued me with the love of good books, reading,
    and writing at a very early age.

    For over 40 years my primary occupation has been in technical writing, editing, and
    publication throughout the high-tech industry. Being fully retired now, as a result of
    the dot-com bubble burst in 2001, I have been pursuing my avocation of creative writing.
    For a brief period of time I lived within an easy walk of Kepler’s and spent many, many
    hours browsing the stacks, and then buying those books that appealed to me and to the
    limit I could afford.

    I have known of the nation-wide struggle by the independent booksellers to maintain their
    commercial viability in the face of competition from the massive bookselling chains. That
    is why I have tried to buy all my books at Kepler’s. The message is clear: if each
    individual does not do their part to support an independent merchant like Kepler’s by
    buying there, that merchant won’t survive. Therefore, I have been exceedingly pleased
    to witness the groundswell of support from the local community to save Kepler’s. Its
    place in our community is irreplaceable. With its personalized service and attention to
    what its customers want including an on-going series of author’s appearances and other
    programs, it fills a needed niche in our mid-peninsula social and educational community
    addressed by no other merchant. As an example, within the last six months I had the
    pleasure of attending the appearances by Lauren Bacall, a favorite of mine thru my young
    movie-going and New York Broadway Theater-going years, as well as Jane Fonda, with whom I
    had the pleasure of attending a mid-summer, 1952, teenage beach party when we were both
    in our mid-teens. And, of course, I purchased from Kepler’s stock both these actresses’
    books, as well as bringing along with me a friend from South San Francisco where I now
    live who also bought a book.

    In summary, like so many others in the book-loving world who care about such things, if
    Kepler’s cannot be saved to go on serving its reading customers, I must cry at the
    propsect as that 11-year-old girl did when her father told her about Kepler’s pending
    demise. We and the entire community shall be the poorer for it. SAVE KEPLER’S!!!

  4. Karen Anne

    It sounds to me like the Tan Group is not planning on reducing the rent to something reasonable, regardless of their public statements. It seems that what they say in pubic and what they do, according to reputable sources, are two different things. So, how about an effort to find another place for the store, is that possible, both in terms of legal issues with the lease, and available space? A smaller Keplers would still be a great Keplers.

  5. Audrie Nevin formerly of Menlo Pk

    So sad to hear about Kepler’s. When visiting the Bay Area always looked forward to going to Barrone’s for a cuppa and then browse the books. Too bad greed got in the way with the rent deals. Lets hope we can save this one:)

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