Great Bookstores: Kepler’s Books in Menlo Park

We’ve been getting a lot of great bookstore recommendations — thanks for sending those in! Today we’re featuring Kepler’s Books and Magazines in the San Francisco area. You can find Kepler’s at 1010 El Camino Real, Menlo Park, CA 94025 (phone 650-324-4321).

Kepler's Books

Blake Charlton wrote in to tell us why he loves Kepler’s:Blake Charlton at Kepler's

Kepler’s Books and Magazines is a wonderful indie with a unique history, great staff, large SFF section, and a lively community. Kepler’s is a wide, well-lit, and comfortable store that opens onto a plaza it shares with the bustling and popular Café Borrone. The store resides in the town of Menlo Park, about halfway down the San Francisco Peninsula and only a few blocks from Stanford University.

During the 1960s, Kepler’s became a Counterculture hotspot: the Grateful Dead performed there and Joan Baez was often seen in the stacks. For decades, Kepler’s remained a community meeting spot, keeping its doors open when many other indies were closing shop. But Silicon Valley boomed and costs of business rose until in 2005 Kepler’s succumbed. However, the local community rallied and, with some local investment, transformed Kepler’s into a non-profit, which it remains today. I’m a very proud supporting member of this non-profit.

fantasy book reviews Blake Charlton SpellwrightI grew up not five miles away from Kepler’s and spent many of my teenage years browsing the shelves and reading in the many comfy sofas. One of the happiest moments of my life was launching my first novel at this, my hometown bookstore, in front of family and friends. If you ever find yourself on the San Francisco Peninsula, you couldn’t find a much better way to pass an afternoon than wandering about Kepler’s.”

Thanks, Blake!
Got a great bookstore to tell us about? Please contact Kat.

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KAT HOOPER, who started this site in June 2007, earned a Ph.D. in neuroscience and psychology at Indiana University (Bloomington) and now teaches at the University of North Florida. When she reads fiction, she wants to encounter new ideas and lots of imagination. She wants to view the world in a different way. She wants to have her mind blown. She loves beautiful language and has no patience for dull prose, vapid romance, or cheesy dialogue. She prefers complex characterization, intriguing plots, and plenty of action. Favorite authors are Jack Vance, Robin Hobb, Kage Baker, William Gibson, Gene Wolfe, Richard Matheson, and C.S. Lewis.

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One comment

  1. I don’t think I’ve heard of a bookstore-cooperative before. What a great idea, and a great resource in the community. Next time I’m in the San Mateo/Palo Alto area I will have to go there.

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