Notebook on Cities and Culture
(Formerly The Marketplace of Ideas.) Colin Marshall sits down for in-depth conversations with cultural creators, internationalists, and observers of the urban scene all around Los Angeles and beyond.
S2E7: Corporate Refuge with Christin Evans and Praveen Madan

Colin Marshall sits down in a back room in San Francisco's Haight-Ashbury with Christin Evans and Praveen Madan, owners and transformers of The Booksmith, and now Kepler's in Menlo Park. They discuss being deemed "corporate refugees" by their employees for their tech consulting past; creating a positive, aspirational experience that doesn't make bookstores seem like broccoli; what they learned from spending date nights in other cities, having dinner and then visiting the local independent bookstores; the importance of offering serendipity, deeply knowledgeable service, and a multisensory browsing experience; how they've come to hold 200 events a year, including their popular bookswaps, born of customers' desire to meet people in places other than bars; what makes Haight-Ashbury something more than a neighborhood where a lot of fun stuff happened a long time ago, and how they made it a first priority to connect with the local community; the parallel non-profit functions of community bookstores, including public education; what makes bookstores businesses, but not normal businesses; "matchmaking" books to readers such as Dwight, lover of Russian history; how they create an addiction to books, bearing in mind that half of America doesn't read a book afer high school; what the controversy about Yann Martel's Beatrice and Virgil illustrates about The Booksmith's "high-touch" business model; the abstraction of life in corporate consulting, and the total lack of abstraction of life in bookselling; bookstores as social networks when you want to unplug from social networks; and the mind-expanding books that running The Booksmith has brought into both of their lives.

Direct download: NCC_S2E7_The_Booksmith.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 7:49pm UTC