San Francisco Chronicle columnist Andrew S. Ross took a look at the success of Books, Inc, the 11-store independent chain in the Bay Area on Sunday. Rescued from bankruptcy in 1996 by Michael and Margie Scott Tucker, the 149-year old company is thriving because it stays lean and treats each store separately.
“We buy for each individual store, seeing each store as a reflection of its community," Scott Tucker told Ross. In Books Inc.'s case, wrote Ross, “it also includes special shopping nights with a portion of the proceeds going to local schools, and discounts for community book clubs. "Integrating with the community will become more important as progress marches on," said Margie Scott Tucker.
University Press Books in Berkeley has its own unique way of connecting with community. On Monday, Feb. 22, it will host its second Slow Reading Dinner, where guests munch on food foraged from the Berkeley Hills cooked by a master chef. Then, over bottles of wine, the guests will read passages from their favorite books. Slowly, of course.
Two Bay Area authors are featured in Oprah Magazine in March. Zoe Fitzgerald Carter’s forthcoming memoir, Imperfect Endings, about her mother’s quest to commit suicide – with Carter’s assistance – is excerpted. Carter is a friend: we went to Columbia Journalism School together and our daughters work on the Berkeley High newspaper together. She gave me an advance copy of the book and I must say it packs a wallop. It is beautifully written, which almost disguises the anguish Carter felt at contemplating whether to help her mother die. Carter will be having her book release party at A Great Good Place for Books in Oakland at 7 pm on March 3.
Gina Welch’s In the Land of Believers was named one of Oprah’s top 10 books for March. Welch, who is from Berkeley, is a secular Jew who spent two years at Jerry Falwell’s Thomas Road Baptist Church in Lynchburg, VA. Welch starts attending the church as a skeptic, but soon comes to understand – and appreciate – aspects of evangelical Christianity.