The Lucky Tour: Book Passage

ntrepid former Algonquin intern David Bradley and his trusty sidekick, Lucky the Leprechaun, hit the road for a tour of (almost all) the coolest, hippest, greatest indie bookstores in the United States. Join us for the journey…

CORTE MADERA, California — Book Passage is going to keep you busy. It’s a bookstore, but it’s more than a bookstore. You want to take writing BookPassage1classes? Go to Book Passage. You want to see a ton of author events? Go to Book Passage. You want to join some workshops? Better go to Book Passage. You want to read a book at a cafe? Yeah, Book Passage has that covered too. How about a large travel section and a bunch of gear? Book Passage is your place. And, of course, you want books. New? Used? It doesn’t matter, you can go to Book Passage for both.

You simply can’t run out of cool things to do up in these picturesque coastal cliffs. In the time I was at Book Passage—which was not even two hours—I saw an author speak, heard a workshop and witnessed incredibly lively interactions between booksellers and BookPassage5book buyers. There’s so much activity at Book Passage that you can’t help but get caught up in their whirlwind of fun. Authors, customers, booksellers, writers, readers—nobody has an atmosphere like Book Passage does. If you have a free day—even a free hour—there is no better place to spend it than at Book Passage.

Director of Marketing Sam Barry sat down and answered the Algonquin Questionnaire.

What inspired the name Book Passage?

BookPassage2The owners, Elaine and Bill, coined the name for a couple reasons. It’s a reference to a passage from a book, but it also relates to Bill and Elaine’s love for travel and their extended travel section in the store.

What is the oddest non-book item you sell at Book Passage?

We have these odd travel boxers from ScottEVest that have two hidden pockets in them, in case you have really important things to hide on your travels. And they’re anti-microbial!

What is your favorite Algonquin title and your favorite Summer recommendation?

Well, you’ve got to love The Art Forger from B.A. Shapiro. It has so many layers to it and is incredibly fun. For my favorite summer read I have to give a shout out to my brilliant brother Dave Barry and his book Insane City. It is BookPassage7completely hilarious.

Are there any members on staff with hidden talents?

Plenty! I’m actually a harmonica player, and I even wrote a book on How to Play the Harmonica. We also have a jazz pianist on staff, a baker, a juggler, and the owners’s daughter is a singer for a Caribbean cruise!

What is the most visited area of your store?

It’s probably a toss up between our travel section and our events area. We host so many events that we have big crowds there practically every day, but the customers definitely like how large our travel section is, too.

What is the strangest question you’ve been asked while working at Book Passage?

One time I had a customer ask me for Stephen King’s email address. I actually had the email somewhere in my contact list, but I didn’t think he’d appreciate me giving it out, so I dodged the question as politely as I could.

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Next stop: Diesel Books in Oakland.

*Note: The Lucky Tour posts are not in real time. David and Lucky have returned from their travels with great tales and many, many books. Stay tuned for more road stories…

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