The Book Place Celebrates 10 Years on Grant Avenue

Novato’s Only Full Range Book Store Still Thrives


Last July Patch readers recognized Novato’s own Book Place as the best bookstore in Marin.  Even after coming out on top in Patch's Reader's Choice Awards, the “little bookstore that can” is not resting on its laurels.  The Book Place is still the only bookstore in Novato that is dedicated to stocking a full range inventory and a comprehensive variety of genres.   

Perhaps the most remarkable aspect of the bookstore is that it is run entirely by a nonprofit volunteer organization, The Friends of Marin County Library.  For ten years now, volunteers (now over 125 of them) work sales shifts selling everything from the latest popular books, to vintage hardbacks, to others that defy categories.  The later will end up in the “U.R.O.” section (Unidentifiable Reading Object), just one of the 35 classifications that books are sorted into within the store. 

Approximately 95% of the books come from public donations, the rest of the books are weeded out of the 10 county library branches.  The collection is constantly changing due to a continuous stream of generous donations.  This type of volume enables the store to have the lowest prices for used books in the county, and that success is translated into generating increasing revenues year over year.  

The sustainability of The Book Place allows The Friends of Marin County Library to allocate more money back into the county library system.  Says manager Barbara Madrid, “Over the last few years, the Friends of Marin County Library have been able to allocate $55k to $70k annually to fund critical children’s programs, expand teen services, purchase audio and video collections and fund online subscriptions to popular medical and educational tools.” 

It is not unusual for the store to intake 3000 items per week.   With that amount of items coming in all the times, many books won’t sell.  The Friends have arrangements with other charities to move books and offer them to those less fortunate.  The store’s frequent half-price sales also help to keep their inventory in check. 

A new five-year lease has just been signed by The Friends.  An option for another five years after that means that The Book Place is not going anywhere soon.  If you wish to donate books, check out their posted guidelines online or in the store.  The Book Place is open seven days a week, and it’s a cozy place to just sit and hang out while you browse for books, CDs, or DVDs.  Open Friday evenings until 7pm, it’s a great way to unwind for the weekend.  Mon-Thurs, and Sat 10-4, Friday 10-7, Sun 12-4.   


Do you know of a local new business opening, closing or anniversary celebration? We want to know! Please contact Tom at tomnovatopatch@gmail.com with all your business tips.

Carole Bennett April 04, 2013 at 02:55 PM
I absolutely love THE BOOK PLACE! I can walk out of there with a shopping bag full of books and pay the price of two books purchased elsewhere. I even own a Kindle, but I do enjoy the contrast of real books as an alternative. It makes reading more interesting.
Sylvia Barry April 04, 2013 at 03:00 PM
Congratulations to the 'Little Bookstore that Can' on your 10th year anniversary and to all the Friends of the Marin Free Library for making this happen! Thank you, for not only supporting the libraries but also for supporting our schools and children!
Patricia Hess April 04, 2013 at 03:35 PM
I have volunteered at the Book Place for 15 years, starting back when it was a crowded little shop in Pacheco Plaza. I love this book store! I enjoy all the people who come in and browse, especially the little ones who can walk out with a bagful of books for less than $5! And I enjoy my fellow volunteers, helpful and knowledgable folks who make the book store such a friendly place. Congratulations on a wonderful 10 years on Grant Ave!


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