Whether signs, symbols, letters or pictures, on paper, stone or walls--writing has a place in history. From the early centuries, books were considered sacred objects. Those with access to early writing tools wrote books without any right to the published work. One could simply alter the context or change the author's name and the work would be his. Therefore, authors did not relish in monetary means due to the popularity of their novel but rather earned glory for their success. Over time, books became linked to the desire to create lasting records of people and events. Scholars took to literature to embed their ideas into history. During the Enlightenment, libraries throughout Europe contained thousands of volumes to accommodate the academic ambition of its citizens. Books slowly sailed to America with the coming of the early settlers. Through migration throughout the states, books held the country together from sea to shining sea, leaving Marin an important book end in the process.
Timeline of Marin Bookstores:
1991 Barnes & Noble opens in Larkspur.
2001 Point Reyes Books purchases the Brown Study Shop and opens its doors in Point Reyes Station.
2006 Rebound Books opens in San Rafael. Barnes & Noble opens its doors in Corte Madera.
2013 Copperfield's Books in San Rafael opens.
turning a new page: The future of bookstores
With the emergence of Amazon, iBook, and other online reading devices, it seems that the need for bookstores is on the decline. How can a store, miles from home, compete with the convenience of buying a book while still in the comfort of one's home? The answer lies in the identification of comfort vs quality. Though it is convenient to press the 'buy' button while in one's pajamas, the service of online shopping can be seen as more disconnected, cold, and in some cases, manipulated by consumption. While a family-owned independent bookstore may be a short walk or car ride away, it can provide a friendly, personalized service that not only benefits the customer but enriches the atmosphere of the store and community by buying locally. Kate Levinson comments on the struggle to overcome technology in her own store, Point Reyes Books. She states, "I think that is used as a showroom for buying online.The people find the book in the bookstore and then purchase it online. So I think for many years we [Point Reyes Books] felt at risk and lots of stores were closing because of Amazon and e-books".
"When we first said he wanted to buy the bookstore, I told Steve go ahead and do it but I’ll just straighten the shelves, I’ve got too much to do in my life. And it’s been just an amazing gift, regarding the people who have come into my life through the books, both the customers and the authors." -Kate Levinson
The battle between local bookstores and Amazon has proven to be intense. With big box stores feeling the sting, such as the closure of Borders, it can be hard to escape the fear of failure in a technology driven world. In order to keep up with the times, bookstores have had to increase their products, services, and experiences by providing more that books on a shelf for a lucky customer to stumble upon. Now, stores have expanded their horizons by providing readings, classes, author signings, interactive events, and other highly-curated experiences that lead customers to react strongly to the product shown before them, creating an impulse to buy now rather than later. Local Marinites feel this push to expand in their bookstores. Point Reyes Books, Rebound Books, Friends Books, Copperfield's, and Barnes & Noble all have provided services past any expectation.