I visited an absolutely delightful bookstore on my recent visit to Sausalito, a charming city in Marin County, California, across the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. The store is located on the waterfront in downtown Sausalito.
Sausalito Books By The Bay is an independent bookstore, the brainchild of a local entrepreneur, Cheryl Popp, who decided to spread learning and knowledge by engaging the local community in her endeavour.
The first thing I noticed was a small cart right at the entrance where some used books were being sold. The concept and the way it had been put together were a visual delight.
This delightful vibe stayed with me as I entered the store and visited every nook and corner. The store is lovely, bright, with a very happy vibe to it. It is the only bookstore in the city, and as they say, they are there because the residents wanted a bookstore, and they wanted to fulfil that need.
According to them, every town needs a brick-and-mortar book store because reading and learning must always be encouraged. With such an ethos, how can anything go wrong?
The store has a curated collection of books of different genres. They include bestsellers, classics, children’s books, books on travel, history, cooking, poetry, politics and topics of local interest, wildlife and the environment. They promote local authors in a big way.
And then dog lovers… this is for you!! They have a wonderful collection of books about dogs. They do what they call ‘pet picks of the month’ selections.
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What Makes a Good Bookshop?
Well, it is not only the books but a whole lot of other things.
I visited the store with my friends, and we got lost in the books within moments of entering. The book displays were so charming that they automatically drew you towards them. It was lovely to see flower arrangements in the middle of book displays.
And their classic collections were so pretty. They were simply irresistible, bound in covers with some beautiful colours like lavender, pink, green and blue. And I had no option but to pick up a copy of Emma by Jane Austin ( not my first one!!)
The staff was helpful, amiable and polite, which is so essential for a book place.
Apart from books, the store is into organizing events to keep the local community engaged. They do author and special events, run a book club and have a literary salon.
The love and passion at the root of an initiative are clearly visible in how things function and have been put together. The entire store exuded warmth, care and attention to detail. The little notes describing some of the books, the spick and span interiors, the displays, and the clearly marked sections bore testimony to that.
The team, with a cumulative experience of over 30 years in the book business, love what they do. Their passion showed in how they discussed books and authors and addressed customer queries.
Besides books, the store also sells decorative interior accessories, tabletop delights and gift items, all very pretty and aesthetically put together. They want people to come, so they have even taken care of the parking issue by having clearly marked parking spaces right next to the store.
We definitely need these kinds of places to keep the habit of reading alive.
The idea of sharing a cup of coffee while having a conversation with a knowledgeable bookseller is something that Amazon can never do.
If in town, do visit the store!!
What do you think?