Meet your merchant: For the love of books and community
The Book Seller
107 Mill St., Grass Valley
Hours: 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Mondays-Fridays; 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Saturdays; 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Sundays
Downtown Grass Valley is home to numerous shops and boutiques of a vast and wide variety. Near one corner of the historic downtown lies The Book Seller, an institution of the community if ever there was one.
Originally opened in 1977 and moving to the present location in 1985, The Book Seller has been giving people the stories they love for a long time. Store manager Angie Kelsey has been with the shop for 15 years. In fact, it was her very first job back when she was in her teens.
“For me, I’ve practically grown up here, it’s like a second home,” said Kelsey.
A self-described book fanatic, Kelsey loves a wide range of books from fantasy to contemporary to different young adult novels. Her favorite books are dystopian fantasy novels like The Hunger Games Series. She is extremely excited for the upcoming Mockingjay movie, the final chapter in that saga.
“It’s been pretty fantastic, mainly because I get paid to talk about books,” Kelsey said. “Admittedly it’s a good day when I don’t bring home a book, but it’s a healthy addiction.”
Among the many jam-packed shelves around the small store are sections dedicated to local authors. The importance of the community is clear, and the community reciprocates in the form of strong support.
“We’re a community bookstore, and that’s the main thing,” said Kelsey, adding, “Our main clientele is our locals.”
Along with national bestsellers and high profile authors, The Book Seller works to provide the books that fit the tastes of the local community.
“We feel we want to represent what our readers are reading, so our bestseller list might look different from a Bay Area independent book store list,” said Kelsey.
Despite the small size of the store, the staff tries to keep the shop stocked with a wide variety, as kids venture into adult book territory, and increasingly adults read more young adult novels such as John Green, said Kelsey.
“We just try to keep everyone happy,” she said with a smile.
The Book Seller has increased and refined its online presence, from social media to its website, but according to Kelsey the feel of a book can never be replaced by a digital device.
“It’s a feel and there’s a smell associated so it triggers memories, it is very much a tactile thing where you want to feel and read,” she said, admitting that although she has an e-reader, she rarely uses it except to read content from a friend of hers that is exclusively electronic.
Some of the fondest memories for Kelsey are the many events the store puts on — the many Harry Potter events and the booths at the Thursday Night Markets are particular favorites.
One could scarcely find a more impassioned and engaged staff than this book store. Of the experience of reading, Kelsey says: “You get to live thousands of lives, you get to be different people, different races, different genders, and you get to experience a whole multitude of things while still sitting in your comfortable little chair.”
Kael Newton, a journalism student at the University of Oregon, is interning with The Union; he can be reached at NCPCIntern@theunion.com.
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