Thursday, July 23, 2015

Pegasus Books - Berkeley, CA

Pegasus Books - Berkely, CA
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When you get ready to start your lawn mower, you might have to prime it to get it going.  Prime, choke, pull, sputter, repeat.  Occasionally it will sputter and almost catch, but then dies.  Prime again, but not too much.  Get the choke off at the right time, and it takes off, finally.  That was my experience with the fine booksellers at Pegasus on Solano in Berkeley.  Once we started chatting and I was sharing my story (and they figured out I wasn't some kind of an oddball) (stop rolling your eyes, readers!), they were very helpful in telling me about the store, its history, and the state of their business.

The Pegasus Books I visited on Solano is one of three Pegasus book stores.  The other two are in downtown Berkeley and Oakland.  Yes, there are three stores so you could call this a "chain," but it is an independent bookstore.  This one-level indie has a great assortment of new and used books available as well as great prices on remainders that are just as competitive as what you get on Amazon.  The store offers cash or trade for the books you bring in and the better deal is to always take the store credit.  You'll also find some rare and collectable books here as well.  The trend with many indies, especially the newer ones, is to offer a variety of sidelines.  You'll find some here, including greeting cards, but this is not critical to the survival of the store.  The current owner, Amy T., has been here 20+ years and the Solano store has been here 30+ years, a sign of good success for any indie.  I think Pegasus Books has things figured out and will be just fine moving forward.

Berkeley is home to UC Berkeley but this store doesn't benefit much from that community.  The customers here are largely local with some tourists, especially in the summer.  Pegasus also holds frequent author events right in the store.  On the evening of my visit they were hosting a jazz group, a great way to bring people into the store.

But the best thing for me was the chance to meet and visit with Tim, Colin, Claire, and Jeff.  Great people to talk to about bookstores, Berkeley, and all things books.  Why any book customer wouldn't enjoy an experience here with people like this is beyond me.  If you're in the Bay Area, take a friend and visit Pegasus Books on Solano in Berkeley.  You'll have a wonderful time surrounded by books and a staff of fun and helpful people to show you around.  You won't match this experience on Amazon.  Go to an indie and buy a book.  Bonsoir.

JUST FINISHED:  Good Night, Mr. Tom, Michelle Magorian.  A young boy evacuated from London during the blitzkrieg finds a grandfatherly type in his new town.  A good find for both.  Outstanding.  I loved this book.

CURRENTLY READING:  When Books Went To War, Molly Guptill Manning.  Non-fiction.

RECENTLY PURCHASED:  We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves, Karen Joy Fowler.

It's always nice to start the browsing before you even enter the store.  

A nice front window display.  

Looking straight through the store from the front entrance.  

A great display right inside the front door.  

The poetry section and on the wall in the background a nice Pegasus mural.  

A portion of the local interest books.  

An extensive selection of magazines.  

A few of the greeting cards.  

I encourage collectors to pay this store a visit.  

One of the long book aisles.  

Find the movie on DVD to match the book you're getting.  

I think this is a great mural on the wall.  I see so many unique things like this in many indies.  

If you find this table you're going to find some bargains.  

View from the back of the store looking toward the front.  

Go sit in that corner with your book and don't come out until I say so.  (Oh thank you!).

An assortment of comic books.  

Bring back your used books and get credit for more books.  I love these deals.  

Jeff, the book buyer, getting ready to sign the Pegausus page in my book.  

The Pegausus Books C League Rec Division basketball team, but otherwise these are some of the fine staffers you'll meet here.    L-R, Jeff, Colin, Tim, Claire, and yours truly.  Thanks for a great visit.  

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