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book passage logo
one of the best
51 Tamal Vista Blvd.
Corte Madera, CA 94925
(415) 927-0960
(800) 999-7909


(February 2011 review)

overall feel & design
There's not just one space, you get two for the price of one...well, in fact there's no cover charge for entering either. Book Passage has a lot to offer (more than 10,000 square feet) and the selection is to die for. The front space has the cafe, the magazines, and most of the new books. Also they have a pleasant area that is always set up with plenty of chairs for their numerous readings. There was a nice light (even on a rainy day) and lots of photos of the happy authors that have appeared there. The other space also has some new books, many used books (an entire room tied to a local hospice organization) as well as some other nonbook items. And in the back there's a large separate room for classes, workshops, and conferences which is very nice - and active when we were there. Both space aren't too tight, yet there's so much, and once you get the flow of the layout it's got a nice feel. The layout is fairly logical and flows around the spaces with lots of straight forward, large signing. Staff recommendations are throughout the store, as well as Elaine's picks are conveniently near the registers. When you don't have any problem finding things, that means a bookstore has made you curious and you found what they have to offer. This is one of those book spaces that is a treat to explore and find its treasures. The day we went, it was a rainy day, and the bookstore was a perfect booklover's shelter from the storm. Once we left, I started thinking about all they had in the space, and I was impressed all over again.
book passage from outside 

The staff was very friendly, helpful, and numerous - nice to be in a well-staffed store. Both of us were asked several times if we wanted help. It's always pleasant when staff members seem to honestly be offering help, and not just going through the motions, hoping for a "No" and moving on. Better yet, judging by the staff recommendations on display, they had people that shared many of our own favorite books - that's always reassuring.  

the selection
I have not been to a bookstore with a better selection of new books. Yeah, more older titles would be be a nice addition, but without much more space that would be tough. It's so great to see so many of the books that have caught my eye as I've perused trade publications and surfed online. It seemed that all these books were RIGHT THERE! You can pick them up and check them out. A booklovers paradise. The magazine area isn't that big, but it's a very interesting selection that covers many different interests. Since I did all the ordering for a much larger magazine selection at read. booksellers, I do appreciate it when someone can hit the mark with so many good titles in a smaller area. I noticed there was a nice selection of hats, jackets, walking sticks, cards, toys, games, a large group of audio books, and I'm sure there was much more, but we had to hit the road, for a hard rain was sure to be falling most all the way home.

book passage inside

There are lots of displays scattered around the store on tables (large and small), ledges and on endcaps. Some of my favorites were the staff recommendations grouped by the staff member. These groupings work nicely because when you notice one or two of your favorites, you want to see what else this person (this kindred spirit) liked. I also always like displays that aren't based on whatever holiday or season is closest, but are displays that took more thought and creativity to put together. Whenever something reflects something original...I want to be there. New books are given lots of space and shown off very well. If a space, horizontal or vertical, low or high, could be used to show off good books, you can be sure the good people at Book Passage are using it to the hilt.

store events (events page)
This is where their slogan of "The Bay Area's Liveliest Bookstore" really comes through. Book Passage has one of the busiest schedules of events of ANY bookstore. Impressive in number, quality and variety. Big name authors, celebrities, writing talent icons, poets, many book clubs and book fairs, writing salons, classes and workshops of all sorts, food & wine events, mystery writers conferences, children's events & conferences, literary themed travel opportunities, and their Signed First Editions club are all included. Get to the website a take a look at all they offer. 

website www.bookpassage.com
The website offers it all: schedules, news & information, links, staff recommendations, blogs, author readings and interviews, video of all sorts, online purchases, e-books, and so much more. If you find a more complete bookstore website you're in pure heaven - let me know.

book passage  

kudos for things that caught John's eye
 ̶  the staff favorites are grouped by person - which means if you see a title, or two that you liked, you are really going to pay attention to other picks
     ̶  all through the store are foam core posters for past events tucked around, and they're signed by the author - not a big thing, but publishers don't send these out to that many bookstores
they do some very simple, classy paper bands around the covers of their many autographed books

? maybe change
 ̶  there's a little wear in the carpet and some of the fixture need a little refinishing, but a store that     sees heavy traffic is going to wear
     ̶  the graphics for the signing and flyers was not as much fun as it could be, but they have so much
going on that just keeping up with events must be a MAJOR challenge in itself
     ̶  more backstock would be good, but you just can't fault them for the great books they DO HAVE and in today's marketplace that's not the way many stores go anymore - sad economic reality

store hours (as of this February 2011 review)  
9am - 9pm every day

Another location - for another day.

Book Passage
1 Ferry Building
San Francisco, CA 94111
(415) 835-1020

book passage san francisco
store hours

9am - 7pm, Monday through Friday
8am - 7pm Saturday
9am - 7pm Sunday

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