Alison and I had each been booksellers for ten years or so when we decided to open our own bookstore in Emeryville. We had been trained in one of the great traditions of independent bookselling – not only the more general Bay Area tradition but the specifically East Bay new & used bookselling tradition.
We decided we wanted to open a bookstore that we couldn’t find in the diversity of bookstores already existing in the Bay Area – a beautiful, inclusive, mostly new with some used, neighborhood bookstore which emphasized a decent and nurturing workplace for its workers and a spiritedly eclectic selection of books. Basically, what we thought every neighborhood everywhere should have – a responsive, respectful, welcoming place for street intellectuals, escapists, activists, workers, artists, the curious, the investigative, and the imaginative.
Our philosophy of having the best books across an exceptionally wide range of subjects and styles has been consistent, with people often startled by the range and depth of our offerings, in a fairly modest-sized store. Our events have brought authors from all over the world in surprisingly various configurations and conversations. We have had concerts, films, dialogues, dance performances, poetry readings, art shows, radio shows, and author readings for the last 27 years.
We are passionate and professional booksellers who value the trade and tradition of fine bookselling. We perpetually aspire to the highest quality of that magical interaction between bookseller and reader – what is the best book for you right now. We have all the bells and whistles of contemporary bookselling – the searchable databases, the ecommerce, and have had a website since 1991! But the core of what we do is providing the imaginations of creative others to our communities of readers here in North Oakland.
Our training has always been an apprenticeship. We have fostered fine booksellers, some of whom have gone on to become great booksellers in other cities and have gone on to open their own bookstores like we have. We take pride in the intensity, holism, and attention we pay to our apprentice booksellers. With all arts, and crafts, the apprenticeship is infinite, and bookselling is an art.
We are pleased to have helped Brad to become a great bookseller. We are also glad that he is committed to keeping the East Bay tradition of bookselling alive and well – to the point of naming his store East Bay Booksellers! He’s claiming it in name and spirit!
We are ready to pass the torch to him, to carry on this rich and storied tradition, in this wonderful neighborhood that has sustained us, and that we have helped to sustain as well. We hope that the communities that have supported DIESEL these late couple decades will turn their support to Brad and East Bay Booksellers, both now with their community funding of his undertaking and for decades into the future. The value is mutual, as the best things are.