Thursday, July 29, 2021

Capital Books - Sacramento, CA

Capital Books, Sacramento, CA

 (Like The Indie Bob Spot on Facebook and follow The Indie Bob Spot on Twitter)
A funny thing happened near the beginning of the pandemic.  Ross and Heidi R. decided to open a bookstore in downtown Sacramento, an area that soon experienced many business closures.  But, as with many other indies I've visited recently they not only survived, but they have done very well.  As Ross told me, because many bookstores were forced to close, they've experienced a type of "survivor's guilt."  Capital Books enjoyed an excellent volume of online orders that sustained it to the present day and a resumption of in-store browsing.
Capital Books is in a great location only a stone's throw from the capital and numerous government buildings and convention centers.  It's also right next door to the historic Crest Theater which is able to accommodate store events for up to 2000 people.  For smaller events, the store's 2nd floor provides an excellent space.  As store manager Rachael told me, live events are just starting to return.  The arrangement of the store is beautiful.  A very long, narrow space that offers all new books on two levels (soon to be three).  The 2nd floor will soon include a cafe and seating area overlooking K Street.  The lower level will house sci-fi and fantasy along with similar games.  This lower level, nicknamed the Nerd Dungeon, will be a great space for people with those interests.  The Capital Books business model will expand even further to another nearby location that will include a cafe area in the front and a gaming area in the back.  A kind of expansion of the Nerd Dragon.
Capital Books is enjoying a great start and I can tell that Ross is really good at what he does.  He dabbles in a little bit of everything and seems to do it all well.  But I witnessed one of his best talents by meeting the people he has surrounded himself with.  Store manager Rachael and booksellers Faith and Haileigh were wonderful to meet and visit with.  Regular readers may think I'm being repetitive because I say this so often, but these people that work in bookstores are rock stars at what they do and I'm so happy I get to meet them.  Why would anyone buy a book online from you-know-who when you can meet people like this, hear their stories, and talk about books?  

Hey California politicians, there are some books in here that you would do well to read.  If you haven't been here yet, check it out.  Bring yourself and your entourage over to Capital Books, it's a short walk.  Educate yourself and support a terrific local small business.  Go to an indie and buy a book.  Bonsoir.

JUST FINISHED:  Hatchet, Gary Paulsen.  First published over 30 years ago, Angie at The Book Seller in Grass Valley, CA is trumpeting this book for classic status. And she's right, it is very good.   13 year-old Brian is flying in a prop plane to Alaska to visit his dad for the summer when the plane crashes into a lake in the wilderness.  By himself, he must learn to survive, endure, and hope for rescue.  Written with younger readers in mind but a great book for all ages.  Recommended. 

CURRENTLY READING:  Raft Of Stars, Andrew J. Graff. 
Beautiful storefront. 

Refer to the storefront picture and then here in close-up is a part of the mural of book spines. 

Totally true. 

Exterior window display. 

My only regret was not getting to meet Lily!

Looking straight into the beautiful store interior from the front entrance. 

Look to the left from the front entrance and find the new releases display. 

Directly to the left you'll find the staff favorites. 

To the right from the front entrance proceed to the best sellers display. 

Attractive table display just inside the entrance. 

Lots of fun items at the check-out counter. 

A little further back on the left wall you can begin browsing fiction. 

Many bookstores tell me that puzzles are excellent sellers. 

Venture beyond this display of games and you'll enter the area for young readers and kids. 

Books of local interest and by local authors. 

View looking into the kids' room. 

A cute little chair for a little reader. 

Rachael gives me a look at the basement that will become the Nerd Dungeon.  They have lots of room to pull this off. 

Consider this the "before" picture of the lower level.  You'll have to go to the store for the "after" picture. 

Stairway to the 2nd floor. 

Discounted books.  You should be sprinting up these stairs! 

View looking into the 2nd level from the top of the stairway. 

It's easy to see how this area will develop into a very charming cafe seating area. 

Start browsing the bargains on the 2nd floor. 

I call this my money shot.  I love this picture, an overview of the store looking toward the front entrance. 

This will be the front cafe area of the sister store.  This is another "before" picture, you'll go for the "after" picture.  You can easily visit both stores, less than a 5 minute walk between the two. 

This is the "before" picture of the back of the store.  Let the gaming begin. 

I just love this picture.  A fanboy with 4 all-stars.  L-R after the fanboy; Faith, Haileigh, Rachael, and Ross, some of the fine people you'll meet at Capital Books.  Thanks for a great visit. 

Saturday, July 24, 2021

Time Tested Books - Sacramento, CA

Time Tested Books, Sacramento, CA
(Like The Indie Bob Spot on Facebook and follow The Indie Bob Spot on Twitter)
To enjoy a visit to an independent bookstore is to thoroughly enjoy meeting a bookseller who is knowledgeable and gifted in what they've read and what they know.  Honestly, after visiting with store manager Finian I felt like I was in a VERY interesting grad school literature summer course.  I could've listened to him all day and if anyone would like to put on a summer seminar or event featuring a Don Quixote and Kafka scholar, Finian would be an excellent choice to be the speaker.  I was happy to be an audience of one when I visited Time Tested Books.
I am so fortunate that I was able to visit here because they only just recently opened with limited hours due to the pandemic.  They are taking baby steps and moving forward slowly erring on the side of caution.  They made it through their closure thanks to online orders and curbside service.  It has been a challenge but I'm so impressed because other than a few greeting cards, it's nothing but books here.  It definitely helps that owner Peter K. owns the building eliminating that expense for the business.   

Time Tested offers mostly used books, a few new, and a good inventory of vintage and collectibles.  They are not taking in used books for trade at this time, choosing to move slowly in their recovery.  However, when they do resume accepting books, be sure to call first before you bring any in.  The store is extremely well-organized and although they don't have their used books on a data base, Finian was able to take me to the exact location of four books I was looking for.  

Similarly, their events are on hold as they gauge progress with the pandemic.  Before closing they enjoyed an active events schedule of authors and occasionally music events.  The shelves in the center of the store are on wheels which allows for great flexibility creating an events space.  

This store has been in business since 1981 making it older than Finian.  It has been through rough waters and I see no reason why it can't make it to shore enjoying expanded hours, book trading, and live events.  Hang in there, Time Tested regulars, they'll be back.  After all, Time Tested Books has stood the test of time.  Go to an indie and buy a book.  Bonsoir.

JUST FINISHED:  Bring Me Back, B.A. Paris.  If you haven't read anything by this author, I recommend you give her a try.  Especially if you're a fan of the psychological thriller.  Finn's girlfriend is the love of his life but she disappears suddenly at a rest stop with no explanation.  Finn also has anger issues.  Is Finn responsible for her disappearance and possible murder?  The ending has an unpredictable twist.  Recommended. 

CURRENTLY READING:  Hatchet, Gary Paulsen. 

RECENTLY PURCHASED:  Freddy Goes To The North Pole, Walter Brooks.  Freddy And The Dragon, Walter Brooks.  Continuing The Good Life, Helen and Scott Nearing.  The Grass Harp, Truman Capote. 

View of the storefront. 
If you're bringing books in for trade, make sure you call first. 


Large front display window.


Got it!


 The beautiful view looking into the store from the front entrance. 
Looking to the left from the front entrance.  This is where you'll check out with your book buys. 
You can find bargains in almost every bookstore. 

Display table to the right, inside the front entrance. 


A few of the greeting cards available. 


If you want to browse these good-looking shelves head to the right side of the store. 


A well-organized and neat used book store. 


Partial view of the children's section. 
Cara Black fans should plan a visit. 


Almost all indies are willing to do this. 


Perfect for browsers who want to see above eye level. 
Honestly, this store is just a blur of books. 


Valuable section for those with impaired vision. 


Beautiful view of a long wall of books on the left side of the store. 


Just a few of the books by local authors. 


View looking across the back of the store. 


An excellent area to try out a few books. 


Check out the music on vinyl near the back of the store. 
Overview of the store looking from the back toward the front entrance. 
If you're vacationing with the family in the Sacramento area, this is a must buy.

Any Bancroft fans out there?  Here's your place. 

Make sure you ask about audio books. 

With Finian on the left, the fine store manager at Time Tested Books.  Thanks for a great visit.

Peter, the fine owner at Time Tested wasn't there when I arrived so I came back later to meet him.  Thanks for a great visit.