In an age where bookstores are fading out as Kindles and Nooks are flooding in, one local bookstore continues to stand its ground. Bay Books is the kind of place every reader dreams of making their home for an hour or two. Soft music plays in the background and seats and tables are positioned throughout the store for customers to not grab a book and go, but make book shopping an experience. The staff are friendly and share the same love for reading as their shoppers, often sharing the latest book they read and providing a personal recommendation for the customer. In a time where most bookstores are chain stores or online, focusing on speed and top-sellers, Bay Books offers the personal touch and time that avid readers have found themselves missing.
Bay Books has been family owned and operated since its inception in 1990. Shirley Muller had a passion for books long before opening her own shop. Prior to opening Bay Books, Shirley worked in Mexico City distributing magazines and international books. Once in California she opened up a flower store before electing to follow her passion and open up her own bookstore. After Shirley passed away in 2002, her daughter-in-law Angelica Muller and her step-sister Shirley Hanson stepped in as owners, keeping the store in the family.
Angelica discussed the continued success of Bay Books, explaining “we are very fortunate to have a very supportive community. We have employees that have been with us for 25 years.” Although many members of the Bay Books staff reside in Coronado, their interests vary, creating a vastly diverse selection of books. The selection at Bay Books encompasses historical books, military books, a large amount of fiction, the largest selection of magazines and international magazines on island, and a generous childrens section. Angelica states that Bay Books is “the classical bookstore — most bookstores have a very small selection and only have the best sellers, we distinguish ourselves with the quality of books we have to offer.” Angelica also shared that everyone on staff also has a passion for books. which adds one special component of Bay Books that you can’t find online, Staff Selects. Staff Selects are books that the staff at Bay Books have read and reviewed and are now recommending for other readers to enjoy.
Although Bay Books remains classic in their book selection they also continue to grow with the needs of the Coronado population. Part of this effort includes adding a section of high quality occasion cards from brands like Papyrus, gift items, and children’s items such as puzzles and craft supplies. In fact, children are a high priority for Bay Books, according to Angelica. “We try to encourage young readers from a very early age, and that is a very important part of our store.” The Children Section set up at Bay Books reinforces that idea with a kids’ table and chairs (pictured below), which shows at an early age that you can take your time and enjoy your bookstore experience.
Angelica would like to thank Coronado readers and Bay Book customers for understanding the importance of independent bookstores; “If we lose independent bookstores, we lose a way of really learning about our society and about the culture of our community. You can buy a book for a dollar cheaper on Amazon, but then you lose the ability to browse and touch and see what you are buying and hear our recommendations from people who have read the books. I think that is something we need to preserve. Independent bookstores need to be preserved and cherished! We are very fortunate to have one of the few independent bookstores left in Southern California!”
Stay tuned for the upcoming events at Bay Books:
Saturday, May 30th from 2-4PM- “The Enemy Inside” by Steve Martini
If you are looking for a fictional book recommendation, Angelica says All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr and The Girl on The Train by Paula Hawkins are fantastic!
While shopping for your new favorite book, be sure to check out the selection of handbags, pashminas, jewelry, educational toys and puzzles.