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 is a professor at the University of North Florida where she teaches neuroscience, psychology, and research methods courses. She occasionally gets paid to review scientific textbooks, but reviewing speculative fiction is much more fun. Kat lives with her husband and their children in Jacksonville Florida.

View all posts by Kat Hooper

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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