Spotlight on Bookstores: *Books Inc.* in Palo Alto, California

Meg Waite Clayton is back with another wonderful Spotlight on Bookstores post!  Meg is the author of  the national bestseller, The Wednesday Sisters, which is just out in paperback. Bookreporter calls The Wednesday Sisters a “stirring novel” that “will appeal not just to those who secretly wish to be writers, but to anyone with a love of great books; anyone who has felt truly moved by a book or an author; and anyone who has had their dreams bolstered by good and faithful friends.”

Here she shares where she first saw her novel at a bookstore, a subliminal caffeinated influence, and bit about Frodo (not that Frodo!)  Meg will be on Author Chat at LibraryThing until Friday May 22, so head over and ask her a question, or just say “hello!”

The newest bookstore on my block is actually one that’s been around for ages. Books Inc. in Palo Alto was the store where Books Inc. Palo AltoI first saw my debut novel actually on a bookstore shelf – or not even on a shelf, but at a table at the front of the store.  My husband, Mac, saw it first.  He phoned me and I rushed over and made quite a scene blubbering over the fact of my book – my book! – actually being something a stranger might read.

The staff, then as now, were wonderfully indulgent.  So the best thing about the new Books Inc. in Palo Alto is that the staff from that original mall location came over to their lovely new one just a mile from my house.  They still don’t frown when you bring in your cup of coffee (from the Peet’s two doors down – but please don’t spill on the books!), and when you leave your little bag of beans behind, they hold it until you return.

Eric, who runs the store, is the best kind of sweet guy – an amazingly well-read one! I’d name everyone else, too, but I’d feel dreadful if I left someone out because they are all terrific.  But here’s one example of how astute they are as readers: when I walked into the store Sunday with a cup of Peet’s coffee in my hand, Jason (in the picture below) asked if I’d named the Mrs. Peets – a minor character in my novel, The Wednesday Sisters – after Peet’s coffee shop.  Clearly I did on some level, although not a conscious one: I do a lot of writing at the Town & Country Pete’s.  Ask any of the Books Inc. booksellers what they’re reading, and you’ll learn a whole lot about books – perhaps even the ones you’ve written!

jasonatbooksincThe inside of Palo Alto Books Inc. is clean and light and inviting, and still somehow cozy, too.  They started their author reading series out with a bang – New York Times bestseller Michelle Richmond (The Year of Fog; No One You Know) – and have since hosted wonderful authors like Jean Hanff Korelitz (Admission).  

Other events include a regular picture book pals group, a graphic novel group, a book group for 9-12 year olds, and my personal favorite, Margie’s Fourth Tuesday group (which is reading Katie Crouch’s Girls in Trucks this month).  And they just started a store blog, so even if you don’t live in the San Francisco Bay area, you can see what Books Inc. is saying about books.

And it’s close enough that I can walk to it.  How cool is that? My dog Frodo likes to come, but that’s dangerous; he’ll sit quietly tied to the bench for the time it takes me to buy a quick book, but not for the extra browsing and chatting time I never can resist when I’m in the lovely new Palo Alto Books Inc. – Meg

13 comments to Spotlight on Bookstores: *Books Inc.* in Palo Alto, California

  • Ti

    Great post! I must stop there the next time I am up there visiting. I think it’s great that the employees get to know their customers too. That’s how a neighborhood bookstore should be!

  • California has the best bookstores! And I see this one is featuring my new most favorite book, The Help, in your picture! I think it is totally cute that this author was so excited to see her book on a table, and even better, at one she loves.

  • I sometimes get the chance to visit my cousins in Los Altos (just the next town over) – my next trip to CA will definitely include a visit to this store. ;)

  • Jason C. Brand

    I am the Jason mentioned above/in the pic.

    Books Inc. is a wonderful company to work for, and our customers do indeed love our wonderful customer service… we do things such as give out doggie treats to the dogs that come in on a regular basis and love to special order a book that we don’t have in our store at the moment for anyone. We also have a free discount card program: buy ten books, and we’ll take the average price off the eleventh purchase!

  • DROOOLING!!! That bookplace looks so yummy.

  • What a great story! I bet it was a magical moment when she first saw her book in a store.

  • Sounds like an awesome store! I would have been hopping all over the place if I had seen my book displayed on a front table at one of my favorite stores as well!

  • What a wonderful bookstore! I would love to buy books there!
    They sound very much like our fantastic, local librarians – people who love what they do and are incredibly helpful.

  • I’m passing out awards! Pick it up here!

  • Another great bookstore review and this one written by a real author. I’d love to find this one.

    Okay, I think I’m caught up on your blog now. I really can’t take a few days off as I miss so much. You really do have a great fun-to-read (and now watch) blog. And such a great new look.

  • This is a such a cute little store! It’s definitely somewhere I would stop if I saw it.

  • Very cool post! We have a Books Inc on my side of the Bay, too, and I love it. I’ve got about a dozen of their frequent buyer cards, too – one of these days I need to bring them all in and see if they add up to ten!

  • Hmmm. I hit post and then realized that, yes, Lorin, 12 is more than 10! That’s what I get for writing faster than I think!

Leave a Reply




You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>