Book 'n Candles

Novato | May 2, 2016 | Carlos Castillo

For those who don’t know, I ran Loveable Rogue bookstore in downtown Novato for three years starting in 2012. It was a fascinating journey, in good and bad ways. I will tackle that story soon, but for now I’d like to key in on the Copperfield’s bookstore that opened in April.

I popped in recently and had a look around. Was surprised that they didn’t incorporate some type of beverage/light snack component. A lot of bookstores have gone this route to capture at least of pittance from those people who will use the store as a showroom for Amazon. However, Copperfield’s will stock higher-margin items such as candles and other garage-sale fodder. Something an impulsive mom will buy so she can check “Buy gift” off her to-do list before she screams off to a soccer game.

Copperfield’s is obviously going after the fairer sex, as women are—hands down— the biggest readers in our society today. I expect the store to stock a healthy selection of novels aimed (accurately or not) at female readers. Books on yoga, cooking and New-Age self-improvement will likely be touted. Kids’ books, too, while mom browses the latest hip reads.

Will I patronize Copperfield’s? I won’t lie; probably not, but then again I have enough books left over from my store to read till I’m 190. It’s not Copperfield’s, per se, that turns me off. It’s more the milquetoast approach to retailing that predominates in this era of algorithms and just-in-time delivery. Nothing too edgy or raw need apply. Just color it in pastels, make it “green,” “kid-friendly,” “farm fresh,” “gluten-free,” and it’ll find its way into an aisle near you.

Now, having said all that, when I ran Loveable Rogue, I did sell novels aimed at the women folk, cook books and “self-discovery” tomes. I had a lot of wonderful customers who liked that sort of thing. It’s for those people that I’m glad Copperfield’s set up shop in Novato.

If you truly appreciate the existence of a store selling new books in downtown Novato, go in there and actually buy something. Don’t just talk about what a great thing it is. Novato is too full of platitudes and promises. Just look across the street from Copperfield’s and you’ll see a monument to that mindset.

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