Welcome to Bell’s Books

Our new website is just getting started. We are creating high resolution images of many of our subject areas so that you may browse the shelves as if you were in the store.  We cannot guarantee every book will be available, but if you give us a call, or use the “Contact Us” link, we’ll happily verify availability, notify you of price and condition, and hold for pick up or arrange for delivery. Take a look at the catalog section for a beginning sample.

It has been an exciting year for acquisitions here at Bell’s, with newly arrived collections including:

– Hundreds of large format books on cruise ships;

– Nearly 800 cookbooks from a local chef who worked with Julia Childs;

– A collection of monographs on Frank Lloyd Wright from Menlo Park’s  previous Director of Community Development;

– A massive library of World War II naval and aviation materials,  particularly focussing on the war in the Pacific, that belonged  to Commander Gerald Wheeler, official Naval Historian for the United  States. (We’re still processing this out onto the sales floor.)

I plan to keep this News page updated often with notes on acquisitions, and occasional thoughts on the world of books.

Currently, the nationwide closing of Borders Books has created a huge shift in the economics of book selling and publishing. Borders left hundreds of booksellers out of work, and owed many millions of dollars to publishers who could ill-afford the loss. One of our favorite local publishers, after being requested to provide expensive special print runs and extended credit terms to Borders for the last holiday season, found that when it went into receivership, they not only did not get paid the one hundred thousand dollars they were owed, they could not retrieve their books, and had to suffer the indignity of seeing their lovely work sold off at pennies on the dollar, which had the effect of dampening their ability to sell their inventory to other bookstores at the regular price. So, to those who ask, no, we are not gloating over the demise of Borders. We do, however, see that now that we are the last bookstore in downtown Palo Alto (nothing short of astounding in the light of our proximity to Stanford) we will need to expand our selections in the new book realm. We’ve been building up our inventory  all this year in anticipation of that need, and invite you to let us know what you want to see on our shelves.

Hope to see you in the store soon –  If you’ve been in, you know why Palo Altans have been coming regularly for three quarters of a century. If you haven’t, come discover a Bay Area hidden treasure !

Faith Bell

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