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Kepler's finds key to future in its past

Original post made on Sep 18, 2012

Kepler's Books and Magazines has a new look -- and that look may awaken memories of its radical roots. The store, which struggled to survive during recent years, may have found new life by turning to its past.

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Comments (15)

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Posted by VV
a resident of Downtown North
on Sep 18, 2012 at 10:09 am

If there were Fillmore posters and peace buttons we'd really know we were in the Old Kepler's

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Posted by downtowner
a resident of Menlo Park
on Sep 18, 2012 at 11:00 am

Yes, along with old painted wooden chairs in corners where smokers could sit. Prevalent odors were weed & B.O.

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Posted by george
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Sep 18, 2012 at 11:08 am

What a wonderful opening to look forward to. There's hope for the community after all.

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Posted by longtimeresident
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Sep 18, 2012 at 11:13 am

I have fond memories of the old Keplers. I loved meandering down the aisles, discovering new things each time. Once, a book fell down in front of me, so I had to buy it. It was "My Secret Garden" by Nancy Friday, which was an "interesting" find!

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Posted by Lorin Krogh
a resident of Downtown North
on Sep 18, 2012 at 11:26 am

As a person of a very low income, I miss the free readings at Kepplers'. I empathized and understand that for financial reasons, that many current, independent booksellers face but $10 a shot is a little too expensive for me. How about a $5.00 charge?
-Lorin Krogh, Palo Alto

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Posted by Donald
a resident of Downtown North
on Sep 18, 2012 at 1:16 pm

It's hard to find the successful formula for an independent bookstore these days. I'm not sure that "retro" is the formula. Amazon is hard to compete with. "Buy local" has never gotten much traction. Holding events at the store is the best thing I can think of. A cooking class to promote cookbooks. Poetry readings. Art and photo exhibitions tied to matching books. Sell posters. A section devoted to local authors. Hold club meetings there. Etc, etc, etc, etc. Good luck!

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Posted by Julie B
a resident of Menlo Park
on Sep 18, 2012 at 2:42 pm

Now that amazon has to charge sales tax, it will help even the playing field a bit. I will be interested to see how they will sell eBooks, but that should help as well. Will one download them from a Keplers website? If so, they'll need free wifi.

I like the idea of chairs.

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Posted by Kevin
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 18, 2012 at 3:25 pm

Kepler's is a lost cause, becasue its socialist ideology is dead.

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Posted by neighbor
a resident of another community
on Sep 18, 2012 at 6:33 pm

Kevin....have you lost your mind? Seems so. See any conspiracies under rocks these days?

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Posted by stretch
a resident of another community
on Sep 18, 2012 at 6:52 pm

How about Ira Sandperl and a guy meditating on one of the counters?

I live in a different state, and still go to Kepler's to buy books when I go down to visit friends and my mother. It will survive as long as people support it, and I intend to continue doing just that.

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Posted by daniel
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Sep 19, 2012 at 7:19 am

Kevin..speaking like a true teabagger.

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Posted by Participant
a resident of South of Midtown
on Sep 19, 2012 at 4:13 pm

I wish Kepler's the best, but I was hoping they'd come up with a new, more sustainable idea going forward. That's a huge space, surrounded by an educated, diverse population, many of whom have time and money. If they made it into an open air marketplace with a more concentrated book area, along with a bakery, wine bar, cheese/chocolate shop, cafe seating, and brought in musicians, poetry readings, and other engaging events, they could draw in a huge crowd who would stop in regularly to see what's going on. Once you have them there, you have to make enticing books very visible and available, and you need a cashier on hand. The recent Kepler's model was an echoing empty scape of hand made greeting cards and book bags. Most books you picked up were badly written since much of what is published these days is just a rehash of the latest fad. If you decided to buy something, you had to hike around searching for a cashier. Retro might be fun, but what really drew people in back then was the feeling of current, vibrant culture, and lively people, and that something might happen!

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Posted by m
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Sep 19, 2012 at 6:27 pm

Amazon charging sales tax hardly starts to even the playing field. Most books that I buy are still 32-50% off at Amazon which means I get more books for the same amount of money. Sorry, I love bookstores, too, but I'm not willing to pay more hard earned money or buy fewer books to keep them afloat.

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Posted by Adams
a resident of another community
on Sep 19, 2012 at 10:27 pm

It's over for Kepler's and bookstores as we know it. Time to turn the page, embrace change, and not cling to the past. That approach would truly be consistent with Kepler's radical past. There's no where near enough aging hippies to keep it going.

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Posted by Martin
a resident of Downtown North
on Sep 20, 2012 at 8:42 am

Please keep a healthy stack of current computer books. They are getting harder to find in our area, and 'no', online and/or electronic, are not always the best option.

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