Books Inc. Burlingame location closed

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Books Inc. Burlingame location closed

Mark David Magat/The Skyline View

Mark David Magat/The Skyline View

Mark David Magat/The Skyline View


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Books Inc. is one of the oldest independent booksellers and has been in business for over two decades. There are several stores spread out over the Bay Area, but now the Burlingame location is officially closed. The Daily Journal’s article on the potential closing of the bookstore was posted on the wall of the store on October 4, 2018.


“It’s just the reality of what goes on, that a low-margin business like books cannot compete for occupancy with the big boys, the national brands,” said President of Books Inc. Michael Tucker to The Daily Journal.



The struggle was hidden in the competition with larger brands, such as Lululemon, Apple, or Pottery Barn. Considering that these companies are not bookshops or booksellers, they provide another option for consumers and unfortunately, it shows that people would rather visit these storefronts than a bookstore.


Residents of the Bay Area know that rent tends to run high and it makes it difficult to live here, let alone own a business. But for the Books Inc. store that was located in Burlingame, the landlord was allowing the tenants to pay below-market rates in order to keep them running.


The Burlingame Voice says that it may be possible for another bookseller to take Books Inc.’s place, and in this case, they could get away with inexpensive rent with prime placement on the avenue.


Students on the Skyline Campus are more affected by the bookstore’s closing  than most would expect. Holly Argente works at the Skyline College Bookstore on campus and claims that people need books and bookstores.


“I feel that it’s not fair, to be in competition with places that aren’t even bookstores. It feels almost disrespectful because of the companies surrounding Books Inc. like Lululemon have nothing to do with bookstores. So there should be some way for it to stay there considering there’s no other bookstore resource there,” said Argente.


The storefronts surrounding Books Inc. are not related to books or literature and instead, brands that sell leggings and activewear have pushed out at least one local book business that originated in 1851, back during the Gold Rush.


Another student named Cameron Collier says that the situation is ridiculous and takes away resources for not just students but for anyone in the area.


“Bookshops are important to me because people need access to books in order to find proper literature. Books, I often find, are more reliable and to be a better source of information than anything on the internet,” says Cameron, “It definitely shows where the consumer’s priorities are.”


Now with Books Inc. gone, Burlingame Avenue, notorious for its shopping and restaurants, will be filled with clothing brands with a few makeup stores here and there.


Books Inc. stores are not only for purchasing books, but the stores often hold meetings for book clubs, readings for children’s books, writing workshops for teen writers and even adult writers hoping to get published. Now with this sudden change, people involved in these programs will either no longer attend, or they will have to travel more than a few miles to get there which, considering these types of programs, may mean we’re not just losing a bookstore, but we could also be losing writers.


There are, however, people who find that there might not be an issue with the closing. Omar Silva, a student on campus, states that people often can find things online which is easier to access than having to travel to the store.


“It saves a lot, like time, gas, money. It’s easy to get to (the internet) and that way students can get to the books they need and it gets delivered to them,” Silva says.


People have busy lives and schedules which tends to mean very little time to go out and purchase a book or two, or even walk around a shopping center. Though it is all based on individual needs and abilities, the closing of Books Inc. on Burlingame Avenue will affect some and not others.


Books Inc. has a page on their website about their history, where they came from and their struggles along the way.


Today, with 11 stores and around 200 employees, Books Inc. serves as a shining example that independent bookselling can survive and prosper, even if we must dance among the elephants,” the site states.


This was the last sentence on their store history page. Ironically, it seems the “eleph

Mark David Magat/The Skyline View

ants”, (the big name companies), got the last dance for the Burlingame location, but not for Books Inc.