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Published March 22, 2005
Volume 13, Number 3



Bay Books Opens Area's Largest Independent Bookstore
New Store Offers Nearly 6,000 Square Feet of New, Used, and Rare Books

Bay Books
Bay Books offers shoppers convenient evening hours, allowing for browsing after work.


By George Walsh
Special to NETWORK



Bay Books, an independent bookseller that has been serving Concord for the past 17 years and San Ramon for the past eight, recently opened a new 6,000 square foot location at 5698 Stoneridge Drive. The new store will offer not only new, used, and rare books, but intends to serve as a meeting place for booklovers of all kinds.

Established in 1988, Bay Books stocks over 600,000 books at its three stores. The store offers a wide array of art and architecture books, classics, cookbooks, craft books, history books, and children's books. Teachers receive a 10 percent discount on used books for class-room use, and a 20 percent discount is typically offered on new books. While the store boasts a large selection of new and used paperbacks, it also offers a large collection of archival-quality leatherbound volumes, bestsellers, and used (and occasional new) hardcovers. Bay Books will search for rare and obscure books for its customers or special-order any book available if they don't have it in one of their stores.

“Putting a bookstore in Pleasanton was pretty obvious given the demographics of the city and surrounding communities” says Rich Van Tassell, who shares ownership of Bay Books with his wife Diane. “Pleasanton is a very literate and family-oriented city. We have a large children’s section and we encourage families to come to visit.”

Bay Books also plans on serving as a meeting place for readers. Upcoming events include a midnight party to celebrate the arrival of the sixth installment in the Harry Potter series, but the store will have plenty of events to offer adults. “We certainly want to be a community resource and we’re offering our space for book club meetings as well as author’s signings,” Van Tassell says. “In particular, we’d like to have local authors do signings. Authors in the area are welcome to contact us to see about having an event here.

”Other community services that Bay Books participates in include sending books to the troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. When people are unable to sell their used books, they can be left at Bay Books to be donated to worthy causes. The store also supports charities such as Books for the Barrio with donated books.

Van Tassell believes there is room in any community for more than one type of bookstore and that variety and choices are good things. “You can often pick up a used copy of a recent book in our store and pay less than you would at one of the stores that sell only new books. On the other hand, if you need it in your hand right away that’s not always possible, so we may have to send you to one of those establishments to buy your book. In fact, it works the other way around as well. Sometimes the larger bookstores will send people to us if they don’t have what the customer needs. It’s a friendly cooperation among people who are, to a certain extent, competitors. If you want an out-of-print book, you’re not going to find it at a store that only sells new books. You have to go to a used bookstore. And we have the largest used book selection around.”

 

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