Monday, August 25, 2014

Chaucer's Bookstore - Santa Barbara, CA

Chaucer's Books - Santa Barbara, CA

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How does an independent bookstore succeed, thrive?  How does it endure when so many struggle?  Ed, the book buyer here at Chaucer's, was great to talk to and narrowed it down to a few things at this independent.  Forty years in business; breadth of inventory, meaning a whole lot of books; great location in an affluent community with great local support; and give customers a reason to come to the store.  I think there's one more reason for this fine indie.  I didn't get to meet Mahrie, the owner, while I was here but it's obvious she knows the indie business well.  I sure felt like I met her as a kindred spirit through Ed, Kerry, and Lana, some of the great staff here at Chaucer's.

There aren't a lot of places to sit down here at Chaucer's but there's a reason for that.  This place is absolutely packed with books.  On high-reaching shelves, in piles in the book aisles, and even still packed in boxes at the ends of bookshelves.  Don't confuse this with disorganization though because this place is very well organized.  When Ed says he has breadth of inventory, he's not joking.  In fact, in this average sized store you could probably put their inventory up against some of the larger indies.  There are no used books here but if they ever decided to take that on they would have to expand.  They have quite a few sidelines here but not overwhelmingly so.  Many indies need these sidelines to help their profit margin but that doesn't seem to be a critical factor in the success here at Chaucer's.  There is a very large room of children's books and items.  Again, in terms of breadth of inventory, probably one of the best I've seen.  You really can find any subject/genre here but since many professors and students from UCSB visit this bookstore, philosophy, religion, science, and poetry are all strong and deep in inventory.  And, of course, in a store called Chaucer's you can find a lot of classics and pre-20th century literature.

Breadth of inventory isn't limited to the books though.  Breadth of inventory is also evident on the staff with wonderful people like Ed, Kerry, and Lana.  I was here on a Tuesday morning and the place was busy.  Yet they patiently took time to visit with me about Chaucer's, books, and all things indies.  I'm fortunate to meet such wonderful and kind people to talk to while on this journey.

What else?  Well, for those of you keeping score this indie doesn't have a cat.  Ed says they're too close to the parking lot.  No worries.  This indie doesn't need a cat to sell books!  Go to an indie and buy a book.  Bonsoir.

JUST FINISHED:  A Man Called Ove, Fredrik Backman.  While reading this I was really liking it.  When I finished I loved it.  Story of a very grumpy old guy that will make you laugh and cry.  Recommended.

CURRENTLY READING:  Monsieur Le Commandant, Romain Slocombe.  Just started.

RECENTLY PURCHASED:  So Big, Edna Ferber, recommended to me by Big, who else?!  Thanks Big.   Euphoria, Lily King.

Outside of Chaucer's on a wonderful day.  

My view just inside the entrance.  

The check-out area and some of the sidelines including book bags and t-shrits.  

Activity books for kids.  Lots to choose from.  

Huge children's section in this indie and here are many of the stuffed animals waiting to find a home.  

L-R, Ed, Kerry, and Lana.  These guys were great.  Thanks for a fantastic visit!  

Same group with yours truly inserted.  

Lots of greeting cards and some of Mahrie's great photos.  

One of the long aisles at Chaucer's.  Can't find a book on the shelves?  Check the floor for more!  

Need a place to sit?  If this is open grab it!

Lots of games here for the young and young at heart.  

Chaucer's and classics - a natural fit.  

Seriously people, get in here and buy a book so they can unbox these and get them on the shelves!  

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