Innovative neighborhood book stores: reader swaps and book deliveries

Every once in a while, I blog about various neighborhood bookstores doing interesting/weird/crazy stuff that runs against the grain of traditional bookstore practices. One of my favorite little shops, Cover to Cover Booksellers in Noe Valley, (on 1307 Castro Street, here in SF) now offers free delivery directly to your house (as long as your house isn’t very far from Noe Valley.) Even if you order a big fat book that is many hundreds of pages and weighs many, many pounds, such as the new one by Peter Matthiesen, which weighs 170 kilos (I’ve bench-pressed this book), they will still deliver it for free, as if your book were a pizza.

Here in the Haight, another neighborhood store, The Booksmith, is having a “lit minded mixture” on the evening of Friday, June 19th. They will close the store early, dim the lights, supply the food and drinks — and if you go, you can exchange books with the people you meet at the mixer. That’s a pretty wild idea — trading books in the middle of a place where the books are for sale. To get in, you need to buy a ticket — there is more information online at

PS — just kidding about Matthiesen, one of my favorite authors of all time. Read Far Tortuga and Killing Mister Watson.

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