The Contra Costa Times summarizes and laments the state of independent bookstores in the Bay Area. In their article, a local writer, Linda Watanabe McFerrin, is quoted as saying, “A bookseller like Cody’s or Book Passage doesn’t just participate in the scene. They help create it. They are actually generating the literary culture. They’re not just serving it, and that’s very, very different.”
This, unfortunately, seems to me the exact opposite of what Kepler’s is doing these days with their market research, trying to find out what customers want so the store can be everything to everyone. The consequence, of course, is that they still have yet to establish a clear voice in the literary landscape. What does Kepler’s stand for–i.e. what kind of books does it stand for? I’ve been shopping there for a decade, and I have no idea.
Some out of town news: