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The New Bookstore Model: Book/Shop in Oakland, California

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The New Bookstore Model: Book/Shop in Oakland, California

September 12, 2013

When you ask book enthusiast Erik Heywood about his new shop in Oakland’s Temescal Alley, he’ll first tell you: “We are not a bookstore, that’s not really what we’re doing. We’re here to encourage people to go to bookstores, visit libraries and live with books.” A champion of book culture, Heywood offers a rotation of rare book stock in a used book setting. “A bookstore is such an archetype that people walk in freighted with expectations,” he says. “Some come in and love it and others require more explanation,” says Heywood. “Now, with the internet, what’s the point of going to a bookstore when you have a specific title in mind?” Book/Shop offers a selection of 80 books on rotation, vintage books, and rare editions to expose you to something you didn’t actually have in mind.

With a background in interior design in New York (he specialized in retail concept shops), Heywood took on the interior himself. “It was all me,” he says. “The walls were soaked with dark blue paint, so the space was like a tiny coffin.” Heywood painted everything white to show off the individual books and to avoid the dark, dusty atmosphere that some people associate with bookstores. In addition to books, you’ll find well-chosen vintage furniture, limited edition products, tabletop bookshelves, bookends, and canvas sleeves. Heywood’s delight around book culture is infectious: a visit to Book/Shop will inspire you to get out all your old books, cleaning, displaying and reading them for hours.

N.B.: For more with Heywood, see Ask the Expert: Erik Heywood Talks Books.

Photography by Marielle Hayes for Book/Shop.

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Above: A hand-painted sign designed by Heywood.

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Above: “The shop was originally painted in a dark grayish-blue, so it took six coats of paint to cover,” Heywood says. Today, white painted wood shelves serve as display against the wood wall.

Canvas and Leather Bag Book Shop

Above: The Ballast Bookbag is a collaboration with Ken Nishijo, a Tokyo-based cabinet maker and bag builder. The canvas is made on looms imported to Japan from Belgium in the 1930s and the pale leather handles from the best tanners in Tokyo; $279.

Canvas Bag Book Shop Temescal

Above: Inside the book bag is a hand screened motto from Book/Shop about book-carrying.

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Above: Heywood sells useful products like Absorene Book Cleaner ($17), which brightens and cleans paper.

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Above: The display shelves were built by Heywood using materials sourced from the hardware store; elevated DIYs abound.

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Above: “We only keep maybe 80 books at a time, and there’s something new every time you come,” says Heywood. The selection of books in-store differs from those online.

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Above: Heywood’s SSB-1 Bookshelf packs flat and slots together for instant set up; shown here in the shelf in a walnut ply; $139 each. For more, see A Tabletop Bookcase for Small Spaces.

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Above: Stay updated on events in the shop and editorial features like the various Summer Reading Lists from notable creatives on Book/Shop’s blog.

Location of Book/Shop in Oakland:


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