One of my favorite parts about publishing a book is the book tour. Travel + books = adventure and meeting readers. I plan to visit as many bookstores as my body, soul, and calendar will allow. To honor these heroic holdouts in the online age, these temples to pages, these centers of human contact, I’m writing a bit about each one I visit, and providing a link so you can shop there online or visit them in the flesh.
Ladies and gentlemen, I bring you: The Bookstores! (By state)
A Great Good Place for Books Montclair Village (Oakland), CA
Nestled in the green lush hills of Oakland is A Great Good Place for Books is a friendly place to browse and find your next favorite book, with the able aid of owner Kathleen, who loves to host events for debut authors! I bought a copy of Ana of California when I popped in to sign books in July.
Bank of Books – Malibu (Point Dume Village) [NO LONGER IN BUSINESS WAAAA 😦 ].
It’s not easy to keep a bookstore afloat, even one by the sea in beautiful Malibu….The staff at Bank of Books Malibu were knowledgeable, dedicated, and – this being Malibu – super chill and cool. I wish them all the best and look forward to hearing from them in their next literary endeavors. (Maybe this is the chance to write that novel or memoir?)
Bart’s Books Ojai, CA
I walked into the courtyard at this outdoor bookstore about an hour before sunset, and met Matt, Rachel, their artist friend who was keeping them company, and the store cat.
Book Passage Corte Madera and San Francisco, CA
“Mecca for book tours,” is how Book Passage was described to me by another bookseller, so naturally I was thrilled to join a book panel here. With a history of hosting super-duper-star authors, these booksellers exuded warmth and hospitality even for a group of debut authors. I could spend a week in there without tiring of finding new great books to read. And their cafe would make it possible to survive doing it. With an outpost in San Francisco’s Ferry Building, you could make a day of visiting both by ferry.
Books Inc. San Francisco, Berkeley, Alameda (and more)…CA
Books Inc. has some of the friendliest booksellers you’ve ever met. I decided to try to visit every one during a whirlwind trip to the Bay Area, and did pretty well, visiting this venerable indie’s locations in Opera Plaza, Pacific Heights (Laurel Village), the Marina, Alameda, and Berkeley, signing copies of Shelter Us at each location. Below is Books Inc. Laurel Village, where I will be hosting a book party August 27.
Book Soup West Hollywood, CA
The She Writes Press Spring 2015 National Book Tour made it’s L.A. stop at Book Soup on Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood. This was my first public reading of Shelter Us, and I was thrilled to have a “warm-up” before my official Launch Party at Diesel.
The Booksmith San Francisco, CA
This store has a collection that does justice to its location on Haight Street, from bestsellers to emerging authors and novelty books “Big Boobs” and “Big Butts.” It was open-minded of them to welcome Shelter Us into their mix.
Christopher’s Books San Francisco, CA
Christopher’s is a charming neighborhood bookstore that will order anything you need, and welcomed me to sign Shelter Us for its customers.
Copperfield’s Books Santa Rosa, CA
We had a ball at Copperfields, another of Northern California’s “indie chains” — independent bookstores with a handful of outposts that seem to thrive. Copperfield’s Santa Rosa, one of the largest, hosted me for a discussion of family function and dysfunction in fiction, with fellow She Writes Press author Betsy Graziani Fasbinder (Fire & Water)
Diesel Bookstore Brentwood, Oakland, and Larkspur, CA
Diesel Brentwood is my local independent bookstore, and I was honored to have my official Launch Party there. Located in the Brentwood Country Mart, Diesel’s friendly and welcoming staff will find you whatever you need, then you can get a coffee or a tasty lunch and sit in the courtyard by the fireplace enjoying your new purchase.
Green Apple Books on the Park San Francisco, CA
The Sunset has a sunny store to call its own. Next door to one of the best burrito places in the city.
The Grove San Diego, CA
On my San Diego swing, I stopped by The Grove to say hello, because I’d heard wonderful things fellow She Writes Press authors. A welcoming space in funky South Park neighborhood, it’s the go-to shop for books, gifts, knitting, and general good vibes. Old school coffee house across the street, and ice cream next door. What more could you ask for?
Mysterious Galaxy San Diego and Redondo Beach, CA
I met Mysterious Galaxy’s Managing Party Terry Gilman at the Long Beach Literary Women festival, an 800-reader literary mega-fest for which Mysterious Galaxy was the bookseller, so I figured they could handle an off-site event for little ol’ me. They graciously set up a beautiful table at Hotel Palomar’s pool deck for a party honoring PATH. But visit their brick and mortar stores to find amazing thrillers and mysteries.
Pages: a Bookstore Manhattan Beach, CA
What could be better than books by the beach? How about amazing readings? And did I mention homemade luscious ice cream nearby? Manhattan Beach is the whole package.
Small World Books Venice, CA
Small World Books is the best bookstore in Venice, California. Its selection of books make me want to take everything home and not emerge for a week until I’m done reading and ready for the next batch. Owner Mary brought herself and my book to a house party for Shelter Us, and fit right into the home-crowd vibe.
Stories Echo Park (L.A.), CA
I walked into Stories and met bookseller Alex, who told me the short and strong history of this cozy, charming bookstore. In November 2008, in the midst of a failing economy, Stories opened its doors and has thrived ever since. Stories hosts a diverse calendar of events, from book release parties, comedy shows, live music, and community meetings, and boasts a cafe with baked goods from Home Boy Bakery and The Village Bakery.
The Last Bookstore DTLA, CA (that’s downtown L.A., y’all)
Visiting L.A.? This bookstore is the kind you visit for the space. The former site of a bank, my favorite space in this massive, two-story, gothic-feeling bookstore is the vault, where I found the Bartlett’s Book of Quotations from the early part of the 20th C. and Chaim Potok’s My Name is Asher Lev, for a couple bucks each. Also, they hosted a great 3-author panel with Gina Nahai and Jessamyn Hope.
Unicorn Books & Gifts Ramona, CA
Owners Julia and Stacey of Unicorn Books and Gifts have created a beautiful sanctuary of books, gifts, crystals and other loveliness in this quiet town in eastern San Diego county. I loved visiting a town I’d never seen before, and when Robert from Ramona Naturals dropped in with fresh baked cookies, I knew for sure it was worth the trip!
Upstart Crow, San Diego, CA
In San Diego’s Seaport Village, amidst the gift and souvenir shops, The Upstart Crow is a refuge of comfy chairs, giant Checkers set, books, gifts, and weekly live music.
Warwicks La Jolla, CA
If happen to find yourself in La Jolla, California, consider yourself lucky on many levels. There is, of course, the beautiful coastline where you can be entranced by the sea otters (or are they seals? sea lions?) as they lounge on the rocks and beach or play in the water, or you can don a wetsuit and get in with them and other snorkelers. But there is also Warwicks, the oldest continuously family-owned and operated bookstore in the country and I was honored to walk into this gorgeous, spacious store and meet some of their friendly, knowledgeable staff, including John and Tammy. Find more of its history on its website. If you get yourself to La Jolla, go to Warwicks and ask for an autographed copy of Shelter Us!
Diane’s Books Greenwich, CT
Elm Street Books New Canaan, CT
Booksmith Musicsmith Orleans, MA
I wandered in here on the recommendation of Orleans other indie bookstore (yes, 2) and was greeted by Erin, Matt and Lady. Hope to return on my next visit to Massachusetts.
Brewster Bookstore Brewster, MA
Bunch of Grapes Vineyard Haven, Martha’s Vineyard, MA
Edgartown Books Edgartown, Martha’s Vineyard, MA
Main Street Books Orleans, MA
Titcomb’s Bookshop Sandwich, MA
Where the Sidewalk Ends Bookstore Chatham, MA
Morgan Hill Bookstore, New London, New Hampshire
This small town, not too far from Boston, has been a favorite spot for my family on trips to New England. Although under the ownership of a Boston transplant who now resides locally, three booksellers hail from Berkeley and the East Bay, so I felt right at home!
Watchung Books Montclair, NJ
I had the pleasure of introducing author Jenny Milchman to her hometown crowd in Montclair, NJ. She believes in epic road trip book tours — 7 months is her record, “car schooling” the kids in the back seat. She’s my book tour hero.
Words Bookstore Maplewood, NJ
Bookseller Jonah Zimile and family started a bookstore because the community was losing its only bookstore, and decided to make it not only a welcoming place to people of all abilities, but also a vocational training spot for adults with autism. Besides being a great bookstore, doesn’t that just make you want to hug it? What a special place.
Book Culture New York, NY
Entering Book Culture from the steamy summer day was a visit to paradise, and not only for its AC. It is an oasis of loveliness, and you could just tell its booksellers knew they had the best job in the world.
The Golden Notebook Woodstock, NY
Inquiring Minds New Paltz, NY
Merritt Bookstore Millbrook, NY
Northshire Books Saratoga Springs, NY
Oblong Books Rhinebeck, NY
Spotty Dog Books & Ale Hudson, NY
Big Blue Marble Philadelphia, PA
This neighborhood indie was the generous host of my Philadelphia literary debut with Deliver Me: True Confessions of Motherhood. A true gem, it builds community and support the written word with its programming, book clubs, and events. I didn’t get to stop here on my Shelter Us tour…yet, but will definitely get back here as soon as possible.
Doylestown Books Doylestown, PA
Newtown Bookshop, Newtown, PA
Newtown Bookshop is my other “home away from home” bookstore. In Bucks County, PA, a fifteen minute drive from my husband’s parents’ home, I always make it a point to come in and get something here. A previous owner hosted a book reading for Deliver Me: True Confessions of Motherhood, attended by immediate family and friends, and current owner Kathy graciously selected Shelter Us as a staff pick! How could I not love it?
Whew! That was a lot of bookstores. What’s your favorite? I’ll try to visit and share it here.