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moe

a true Berkeley institution
MOE'S BOOKS
2476 Telegraph Avenue
Berkeley CA 94704
(510) 849-2087
More Moe's
(510) 849-2133
www.moesbooks.com

(October 2009 review)

overall feel & design
This store has always seemed so large (there are over 1000,000 books) that it reminds one of a small college library. Four floors of new and used books, as well as More Moe's on the top floor for the collectables  ̶  it's a fine fine arts collection. There's a big poster, and a huge banner on the first floor walls, that directs readers to whatever floor they need, for their choice in books, and the choice is huge. There are used books on every floor, new books share the first two floors with the used, and More Moe's (with its fine collection of rare books and their appraisal service) awaits all on the fourth floor. If you can't find a book to lust after up on the fourth floor, don't call yourself a book lover. It's all such a booklover's dream. Moe opened his first Berkeley store in 1959, and then built and moved into the present space in 1978. Moe, who left the store and this dimension in 1997, is always spoken of in terms of 'bigger than life' and it would be a fitting tribute to the man, if people strongly supported this fine store for at least another fifty years.
moe

staff
 
The workers at Moe's always seem friendly and quite knowledgeable. Because of my large ears  ̶  the last few times that I've been downstairs at Moe's, I have overheard a new employee being trained and the instructions have sounded quite complete. It sounds like another knowledgeable and caring bookseller in the works.

the selection
 
Other stores may have larger selections of the newest titles, but we both agree that the people doing the buying at Moe's are bringing in the titles that make their new book selection much more interesting and far reaching than so many other stores. The store has a fantastic collection of fine arts and architecture books, both new, used and collectible. 
Nonbook-wise Moe's has plenty of blank books, a good assortment of greeting cards, calendars of all sorts, audio books on CD, an they are your only source for those Moe's T-shirts.

display
The store's front windows and the tables and displays areas on the first two floors show off both used and new titles and  the third and fourth floors are mostly just masses of used books filling every shelf. In the More Moe's area there is a little more display for some beautiful books, but still mostly crowded shelves. There are plenty of fixtures on the first two floors to show off their books, but it's the quality of the titles that impresses the most.

store events (events page)
Moe's has a dandy list of events, with a strong support of poetry. In the space of a week, we saw science fiction writers, Kim Stanley Robinson and Terry Bisson together, and are looking forward to Jonathan Lethem next week. Jonathan Lethem at Moe's is special because he worked there for a number of years while he was writing his first book. Their website has started to archive some of the poets and writers of previous readings.

website www.moesbooks.com
 
This is not a flashy website, just a very well done site that shows off the history of this book mecca. A visitor there will find Moe's bestsellers, a good selection of staff recommendations, store history, a remembrance of Moe in words and photos, listings of upcoming events, and you can shop and search online. Moe's Books got interested in the online world early for a bookseller, and they have been archiving poets and authors who read in the store for a couple of years now ... take a look. There is quite a bit of information about More Moe's as well.

more moe's

kudos for things that caught John's eye
   
 ̶  the openness as you first walk in, when you eyes are drawn up AND down to two open floors of books, they call to you
     ̶  those tall piles of books on the main counter, books just in and waiting for a new home in the store
   
 ̶  that red and white Moe's Books van out searching for even more books
   
 ̶  the thrill of taking an elevator to another floor of books, it's like when Dorothy opens the door and knows that she's not in Kansas anymore, and it's in color

? maybe change
   
 ̶  the books could be straightened more, shelves could be cleaner, but, HEY, there are four floors of books ... good books

store hours (as of this October 2009 review)  
10am - 10pm every day

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