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sign with pen

a "gold mine"
of used books
in the foothills
325 Main Street 
Placerville CA 95667
(530) 626-6454
(March 2012 reviiew)

overall feel & design
   This is a small bookstore with a fine collection of used books. There about four rooms—it's hard to delineate rooms as the bookshelves run floor to ceiling, cover every wall, and share the space with plenty of free-standing bookcases—and the space is all about fitting as many books into it as possible. Many of the fixtures are made of great, thick slabs of wood, so you know, and feel, you're in the foothills. The look is quite funky—that's funky in a good way. This is a great place to spend a lot of time browsing. They have everything from the bestsellers to some very rare books.
   There isn't much in the way of floor space, as the store is very full and there are short, little book racks/stand in front of many of the bookcases. When it's crowded with people ... it is quite ... intimate. For those who lean towards the claustrophobic, it can be very close. The cases tend to curve around and fill up every inch of space. They do have a some rarer books near the small cashwrap in the front of the store. They do have a rest room available to the public and the bookstore's vibe is pretty friendly. Out in front of the store are a couple of book trucks and some boxes full of of even lower-priced books.
   There is street parking out front, and a large parking garage on the other side of the street. The main drag of Placerville is a fascinating collection of mostly independent merchants and eating establishments, and they are all working together to make the Placerville experience something quite unique.
   Nancy and Celia opened the store together in 1983, down at 316 Main Street. Then in December of 1984, they moved the bookstore to the present location. September 1, 2011, marked the Bookery's 28th anniversary of dealing books in Placerville. You can easily tell these good people care very much, and are very knowledgeable about, the delicious, used books they carry.


   The Bookery is owned by Nancy and Celia, and in all the time we had our new bookstore a few spaces down the street, it was a rare day we didn't see one, or both of them, in the store. We are talking hands on ownership. The other members of the staff are friendly and helpful, and the bookstore is a true community meeting place for book lovers. Everyone on staff is helping to create a comfortable place for both, area residents and tourists passing through, to thoroughly enjoy some quality book time.
   On a personal level, both Vicky and I would like to publically thank Nancy and Celia for the incredible welcome they gave us when we showed up in 2008 to do our new bookstore at 352 Main. They were always very supportive of our endeavor in Placerville, and we came to really like and respect what they were doing with their own bookstore. Much of the inventory of Raven's Tale that was left after we held our closing sale, and then shut our doors...ended up on the shelves of The Bookery. They gave it a good home.  
                   nancy & celia   shelves

the selection
   Much of what a bookstore is, is the inventory. The Bookery has inventory in spades. And, while they don't have the room to show the books off much, all it takes is one hand to pull these great used books off the shelf. I won't try to list the different sections, it's been too long, and there are too many of them, just know that there's a wide-ranging selection of used books available. One of my favorite sections was the classics...I got a really nice edition of Thoreau's Walden there early on. As we were selling new books, I was always keenly aware of how quickly they would get used copies of the latest bestsellers on display in their front windows. Because they are active book buyers (they buy on Mondays and Fridays, and by appontment), and they use book scouts, the inventory includes many hard-to-find books, and there is a lot of traffic—so things are ever-changing. There are also some cards, recorded books, and other nonbook items scattered around the store. The Bookery is a browser's delight of a used bookstore.
                         store front
   You can't help seeing the book carts and boxes full of marked-down books out in front of the entrance. There are also several windows facing the sidewalk, doing their best to show off some topical books to the book lovers passing by. Once you're inside you are immediately aware of the tens of thousands of books that are stuffing the shelves. There aren't many display areas throughout the store because the stock seems to fill just about every square inch of space. This is not a case of anything approaching less is more. As I remember it, the entire store's bookcases are spine-out and there are only a few areas on top of a few non-floor-to-ceiling cases for any other display. Around the register there are some displays of books, rare books, and a few nonbook items.   

store events
   The Bookery doesn't have much unoccupied floor space to allow for many events in the store.

website (facebook listing) http://thebookeryplacerville.blogspot.com
While not a complete website, their facebook listing has: lots of pictures, news about the store and its inventory, basic store information, some history, and a blog.


kudos for things that caught John's eye
   —  all the heavy timber shelving, looks like some big tree up the road just got cut down
   —  the clever custom-made wrought iron trim on the front of the store
   —  that giant fountain pen that hold up the hanging sign out front
   —  those strange little free-standing 3 foot high shelves on the floor in front of the wall shelves

               window   pen

maybe change
   —  more space to show off all the stock better ... would be a dream*

* This is my new books mentality showing. In our stores, we always wanted to be able to showcase the books we were most excited about. The used world is quite different. We do know quite a bit about selling used, as we did that, as well, for many years, but always in addition to our first love, new books. Think of the many smaller used bookstores that once were quite plentiful in this country. They mostly filled every square inch of space, had shelves to the ceiling and covering every wall, and many of them had a strong odor of book dust...and some gave off that rank smell of moldy, old books. The Bookery, I'm happy to say, avoids the books that give used bookstores much odor, but they are seemingly maxed out on space. 

{This review was prompted by a friendly email from a Placerville resident, and while I'm quite happy to put this review together, beware, I might be remembering a few things wrong here and there. We haven't made it back to Placerville for quite some time. Our new bookstore, Raven's Tale, was just down the street at 352 Main Street, from June of 2008 to August of 2009.  — John}

store hours (as of this March 2012 review)
Monday - Thursday 10am - 5:30pm
Fridays & Saturdays 10am - 7pm
Sunday 10am - 4pm

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