We posted in August that Kate Rosenberger was looking for a buyer for Phoenix Books so she could simplify her life and this week we learned who the new buyer is. More on that lower down. Phoenix Books is shutting down this Sunday, October 20th, and Kate would like to celebrate her 28 years in Noe Valley with a party. There will be pie, cake and drinks all day with live music by Octomutt from 2-5pm.
If you recall, Kate is not getting out of the book business - she will continue to operate Dog Eared, Alley Cat and Badger Books. Here are a few details from the FAQ posted at the store for those of you who have done business with Phoenix:
Can I sell/trade my books? Will it have new used books?The new owners will also be at the party and will be familiar to many: Paula and John Foley were partners at the Castro St location of Cover to Cover Books from 2003-2005. We contacted Paula for a few more details:
No, the new store will carry only new and remaindered books.
Will my credit still be valid?
Credits on a Phoenix trade slip will be valid until the end of the year.
Will there be a sale?
No, the used books are going to the other stores.
At one point you were involved with Cover to Cover. What have you been doing since it closed?
I left Cover to Cover in 2005, and have spent much of the time since working at a couple of other great Bay Area independents - Book Passage and The Booksmith. I managed the Book Passage store at the Ferry Building for a number of years, and also did all sorts of back office jobs at their main store in Marin.
What made you want to open a bookstore of your own?
When I was growing up my grandfather owned a small restaurant. It was a wonderful place with a lot of regulars and a warm staff who made everyone feel at home. It’s still my ideal of a small, neighborhood business and I hope I can follow his example. It’s always a privilege to further people’s reading lives, and being able to do that in a neighborhood setting is really special. In a neighborhood like Noe Valley, even more so.
Folio is a great play on your name, and has great book related meaning. Is there a story of how you chose the name?
When we were searching for a name, I made a long list of book-related words and read them aloud to my husband. He has a theater background, so “folio” immediately brought Shakespeare’s First Folio to mind. I liked how it refers to physical books and the making of books, and also that it comes from the Latin word for leaf. We were so focused on the meaning of the word that it took me a bit to realize that it was also basically our name. I felt a little self-conscious about that, and at first I couldn’t say “Hi, I’m Paula Foley from Folio Books” without cracking up. But now I’m having fun with it – it’s a built-in way not to take things too seriously.
In a nutshell, what’s the focus of the shop? What types of books will you be featuring? Bestsellers, fiction, travel or …?
We’ll search for great choices across a wide variety of subjects and genres, and we’ll be putting a lot of emphasis on the children’s section. We’ll also feature small, focused collections – maybe around a particular small publisher, or tied to something going on in the city, or just because, and those will change out often to keep things fresh.
Do have plans for events at the store?
Yes, definitely. Everything from author nights with Noe Valley characters like Peter Gabel and Bill Yenne, to authors on national tour, to fun things like spelling bees and word-game nights. We also hope to participate in Litquake, One City One Book, that sort of thing. We’ll have events for kids as well.
Why did you decide not to carry used books?
My goal is to have a financially healthy bookstore that will serve the neighborhood for a long time. I can best accomplish that with a “new” bookstore. As different as a used bookstore and a new bookstore can be for a customer, they are even more different to run, with very different business models and economic realities.
How do you plan to be involved in the community?
First and foremost, I hope we’ll serve as a “third place”, one that helps anchor the community and cultural life of the neighborhood. We want to be a place where you get into a conversation about books with a neighbor you haven’t yet met, or run into your friends. Beyond that, we hope to partner with groups and organizations with fund-raising nights, special events, and other ways to help them in their efforts. Schools and literacy are obvious areas of common interest, but I also have an interest in elder issues and trying to help people continue to have meaningful reading lives as they age.
Bernie’s, Philz, Starbucks or Martha’s?
Folio Books plans to open the first week of November. Stay tuned.
3957 24th St
[NVSF: For Sale: Phoenix Books]