Dreaming of Beaches & Book Stores

We’ve made an offer on a house in San Clemente, California and hope to close before the end of February.  It’s a great house, a historic home, very close to the beach and the San Clemente pier, and so it looks like we’re definitely heading to California in June once boys finish school.

It’s exciting to think that come Fall, Ty and I will be in one house, under one roof, more and more.  Even better, its a house we bought together so no more his and hers, but ours.  Ty will continue to operate his Oahu based surf school, but plans on opening a Southern California branch sometime in 2012 or 213.  He needs to find the right spot and it’ll happen when it’s meant to happen.

I have some serious tight deadlines in the next 6 months and will be writing really hard while preparing for our Bellevue realtor to show my house here.  I love this house in Yarrow Point with its stonework and big fireplaces and gorgeous library, but I am hoping that the right person will fall in love with it, too, and enjoy this house as much as I enjoyed building it.  It’s a reader’s dream house with bookshelves and cozy nooks everywhere!

Speaking of readers, I have a dream of one day opening a bookstore in San Clemente.  There is no new book store there and I’d love to have one that’s full of fun fiction and kids books, with both picture books, chapter books, and great YA literature.  I’d love for it to have a little coffee corner for lattes and iced mochas, and tables and chairs for writers, and comfy chairs and corners for readers.  We could host author events, children’s story hour, writing workshops and book clubs.  I see it as a community place to bring people together.  This is important to me but with my deadlines and writing schedule, I don’t know when I will make it happen, but one day–hopefully sooner than later.

Now I must get back to writing and making my next deadline.  I’m working on Kit’s book, the second in the Brennan Sisters trilogy and I’m enjoying it so much.  Love this story and hope you will, too!

I’ve got 3 great prizes with a London theme in honor of my UK publisher, Harlequin Mills & Boon, as they treat me so well and make me feel needed and wanted and that’s a great feeling for a writer to have.  For a chance to win one of these three awesome prizes, tell me what you think of my idea for an independent bookstore,  which in my mind I’m calling”Beach Books & Board Shop”, and tell me what you would like the store to have, or what you think would help it succeed.   Does it need to be huge?  Does it need certain hours?  Does it need to include all fiction?  I want your thoughts, big and small as I have no experience in retail, and have heard that it’s impossible to make money with a brick and mortar bookstores, but I LOVE bookstores and think every city should have one!

Contest runs through Monday night and I will announce winners on Tuesday!



  1. I hope you get the house. That’s so exciting. I would love a house close to the beach, but living in NY that’s not possible or practical. My condolences for the loss of your step father. Much love xoxoxo

    1. Sorry, my computer did something weird and shut off. I think that the idea of a book store/surf shop is genius!!! Just like you and Ty it’s a marriage of two things that you both love … books and surfing 🙂 I think it’s a wonderful idea. I just wish that I lived closer to be able to see it when it’s done. I think that whatever you guys come up with will be perfect. It doesn’t have to be huge. I would say something medium size with some tables/chairs and maybe a coffee station.

  2. Good luck with the house. I love your idea of a bookstore, I’ve always wanted to do that. I think you should have everything. A coffee bar would be great but tea and healthy smoothies would be great too. Have places for book clubs to meet as well as authors to sign. What I think would be great would be to hire women that had been out of the workforce for a long time, or never in it, and give them an opportunity to earn money for themselves. There are so many women that have always been dependent on their spouse for support and when something happens, they don’t know how to function in the workplace. I wish they could be given a chance. Anyway, that’s just my two cents. You know I love your books and I think you’d be a great bookstore owner.

  3. I too hope you get the house. How exciting is that? (And how much work, but we won’t go there….) It will all turn out. Honest.
    What a lovely idea about the bookstore, Jane! Yeah, I know there are fewer and fewer of them, but jeepers, I hope that means that people will feel even MORE like coming to YOUR store! I’m sure that if a certain author (ahem) were to drop in occasionally, there would be more and more customers in that store!
    Alas, I don’t have retail experience, but I do prefer buying books in a store rather than online. After all, you can’t smell books on a computer, right?
    I like how you post your “dreams” on your blogs. What a great way to initiate bringing them to fruition! Remember: it just takes one step at a time!
    Best of luck, now and always, and thanks for sharing!

  4. Congrats on finding a house, Jane. I hope they take the offer. I like the idea of independent bookstore. I really have no idea what would work or what wouldn’t, but I picture cozy chairs and little tables for your beverage and snacks.

  5. A children’s story hour three days a week is a MUST, one that comes with crafts for the bigger kids or songs for the “Babies on a Blanket.” The coffee corner is great, since the moms need caffeine! Don’t forget the organic milk and hummus and carrots for the kids. (I’m sick of seeing moms feed their kids cookies the size of frisbees at our local B&N.) A summer reading program is a must, ooh, and maybe hosting reading-themed birthday parties there after-hours??? This idea is so much fun, Jane!

  6. Jane, your ideas are always so wonderful and whimsical! I love the idea of the book/board shop esp. there… the Montana girls fell in love the OC beaches on our last trip.

    I used to be the assistant manager of a book store when I was in college in CA and it was a small, quaint store. The people who came in became like family and I got to know what kind of books each customer liked. The decor could be a lot like the Beach Studio with sea foam greens and dusty blues. Make a point of serving local foods with organic choices.

    I could go on and on because it sounds so lovely! Congrats on your move! This is a good thing!

  7. I think a bookstore is a super idea! In my head they should be on the smaller side, with lots of aisles and nooks, like older libraries, not so much like a huge, open Barnes & Noble store. What great luck that San Clemente doesn’t already have one!

  8. So Happy to hear about all your new adventures-lots to right about! You will be the perfect owner of a bookstore 🙂 I just love a store that is fun, cozy and becomes part of the community. I wish you the best, you know you are gonna miss our Washington weather!!

  9. Good luck on the house…how exciting! I absolutely LOVE the book/coffee/board shop idea! We’re in OR, but I would visit for sure!! Coffee and books are two of my fav things- can’t go wrong there! I like shops that are cozy. Not something too big. I would LOVE to see comfy rocking chairs in a shop like that! Then I would certainly be sticking around all day long! I think it’s an awesome idea and you should go for it! I’m sure it would be a huge success!!!

  10. Sounds like you’ve got a lot of exciting things happening! There’s nothing better than having your whole family in one place. We had to live in different towns for 10 weeks. I hated it!

    I’ve dreamed of opening a book store too! I would call it Taylor’s Tales. I like the idea of having a coffee shop. Big cozy chairs to curl up in… awesome!

  11. I’m excited and happy for you and your family all living under one roof, in the beautiful coastal city of San Clemente! Doesn’t get much better than that!

    I’m thinking about how you could make the Beach Book/Surf Shop a success…what makes me come back to store or restuarant??? I think it comes down to how I feel when I visit a store. I think hiring the right manager with strong people skills and who can in turn hire happy, knowledgeable sales staff, with some small, business management experience would be critical. They, in turn would hire sales staff who KNOW what they’re selling and have the ability to make people feel comfortable, important, valued (wanting to purchase books/boards) would be a huge asset to a new business just starting out. Good luck with your plans.

  12. Congratulations on finding your new home. I hope everything goes through for you and I know you’ll find someone to fall in love with your old house. It does sound special. when my former father-in-law bought his last house, I fell in love with all the book shelves in it too. I’ve always loved book shelves. Your idea of the book and board shop sounds fun. I think you should include all types of books so you’ll get all types of readers in it. I like the coffee shop idea too. I don’t think it needs to be too big. Quaint would be nice too. Gotta have some big comfy chairs too so people can sit down and enjoy the atmosphere. I think a beach decor would be nice too and always have a vase of tropical flowers at the check out counter. I can picture it now. Everyone will love it.

  13. Jane, I LOVE the bookstore idea. A nice cozy bookstore would be awesome – wish we had one here where I live! I will have to try to come visit it when it is built 🙂 I think it should have a little of everything available to read so it appeals to the most amount of people, coffee and some sweets too 😉 It’ll be a great atmosphere I know! Have a fabulous weekend! Sandy

  14. Congratulations on the new house! I think a bookstore that has a lot of events might do well. Doesn’t Nora Robert’s husband have a bookstore where they have author events? I think a coffee shop with internet available is important plus a kids area that is nice and bright.

  15. Congrats on the house! It sounds lovely. I love old historic homes too. The idea for the book store sounds perfect. Like Shannon said, I wish we had more Author events in our local book stores. Always wonderful to meet the authors of the books you adore.
    The coffee/tea counter is a must and big comfy chairs. Can’t wait to hear more details of the things to come.

  16. You know I am totally in love with your Yarrow Point house and am lusting after it already. Even if I don’t want you to leave our area, I really, really love your house! 😉

  17. Congrats on the new house. Hope all the moving and selling and everything goes smoothly. Book store sounds great! We had one here where i live for a while but it didn’t last long. Small rural area and unemployment it just couldn’t make it. I think it would be neat to have a area for kids to sit and play or read while parents could browse. Maybe a small coffee bar too. I bet you make it happen and it will be great!

    Lisa B

  18. Congrats on your house and all the wonderful things that are going on in your life…I love bookstores and we don’t have one in Crawfordville,got to go to Barnes and Noble in tallahassee near the mall…it should be a cozy, homey feeling. I’m big on kids so they need a storytime and a place to sit and look at books and puzzles.The hours should be convenient for we all work,sundays should be for you and your family but thats your decision…I’d love to work for you,I’d move in a minute…my 2 kids are going off to school and I just got a job so excited, cleaning houses for a well known company, I’m excited even though its not working with kids but have to get money to finish my school for they cut my loan money…anyways its working with adults and a real conversation but I miss playing with the kids.I went to the library and got a few books of yours that I haven’t read(present) and Megan Cranes books,too! I’d love to win this so I can share it with my daughter, tomorrow is(Jan. 28th) she turns 18! What an exciting time…Congrats on your house and good luck on writing..can’t wait to read your new series! Happy Friday!

  19. Jane,
    So many exciting things happening in your life. We will miss you in the NW. I think the bookstore is a great idea and would work in a small town. I miss the little book store that you could go to. I’m not a fan of the giant ones. If anyone can make it work I’m sure you and Ty can and putting the books and boards together I think is a unique fun idea. Wish you the best of luck. Sorry about the passing of your stepdad.

  20. The bookstore is a fabulous idea. I love the Beach Book and Board Shop name. I totally would use the ocean theme for decorating it. Kind of like the things you have on your Hawaii Christmas tree. It does not need to be too big. And you could have coupons and info regarding Ty’s surf school. And maybe sell some local artist’s beach type artwork too. Not a whole lot, but a small display would be cool. Big congrats on purchasing the home. It’s just up the coast about 50 minutes from me….beautiful area for sure!

  21. Jane,
    What a fabulous idea, and I love the name of the shop you are dreaming of. I don’t picture it being a big shop at all. I like the idea of it being cozy and having places to sit and read/write. It sounds like my kind of bookstore – kids’ books and fun fiction for adults. I think if you sold a few yummy baked good to go along with your coffees and mochas – maybe cinnamon rolls, scones, muffins, cupcakes, cookies. See I would love to work in that part or do the baking for that part. I would love to live in a beach town and do a job like that!

  22. Books & Boards! What a great idea, Jane! I’d take a trip to see that. I love the idea someone had of decorating it in sea glass and light colors. Maybe adjoining spaces so the board shop has an inside entrance to the coffee/book shop so you draw each other’s traffic in?

    I have to say, though, we’ll really miss you up here in WA. I do hope the right person finds your home here, as it was amazingly beautiful, even when I saw it years ago before you made all the additions. I know you’ll all be happier together, though, so crossing my fingers for you!

  23. The independent bookstores near me get very involved with other local store owners and really push the “buy local” mentality. They establish great relationships with authors through out our state so that they are included in book tours and special event with the authors. Also you can even buy ebooks from your local bookseller if that’s your preference: http://www.indiebound.org/google-ebooks

    Good Luck!!

  24. Sounds like a very exciting time in your life. A coffee bar and wi-fi are a must. Small in size seems cozy.
    Hope your dreams become a reality soon.

  25. Hi Jane,
    Love the idea of your bookstore and coffee. Some yummy treats, cool book bags and accessories would be great. I have not seen a beachy theme bookstore anywhere in S. CA 🙂

  26. I envision you creating and building a bookstore in San Clemente, California that is interactive and kid friendly. I see cozy nooks in deliberate places,tv monitors up top in strategic areas of your store space that continually stream excerpts from Ty’s surfing school teachings and/or the greatest surfing of all times videos, a section for tables and chairs or a few comfortable seats, counter tops ad displays that will help promote books of the week or new arrivals, A Store assistants to assist customers to find what they are looking for and if they don’t know to help them find their passion for a certain genre of books. Sell all fiction only if you want to be an independent specialty bookstore, however doing so may cut your clientele in half. Remember avid readers of steamy romance, intrigue, political and spy thrillers/ espionage will come out in the rain to get the next book to read if you’ve got it in stock. Learn the lay of the land and the activities of the people and that will help you determine your store hours. Advertise, advertise, leave flyers everywhere allowed around town. Connect with as many people as possible on top Social Media platforms, such as facebook, Google+ and top echelon reading blogs ask them to get on board to help you spread the word about what you are doing and make sure you give them a good reason “WHY” you do what you do. People become loyal followers/customers faster because they embrace your “why” your vision, your dream. Okay back to my thoughts for your successful business, when the customers walk in your store they are greeted with the aroma of great coffee, tea, or if its a cool day maybe apple cider or instant hot chocolate or mocha, there is music playing softly in the background, whatever you like, new age, country, rock, jazz or R&B. All the different nuances I mentioned thus far will create a memorable moment that will draw your customers again and again. What I think all book stores miss that is so needed is to create an a space where the environment validates people, it says hey welcome you are special, you are important, a place where they can get away, wind down, read, or they may be up and coming authors looking for a great getaway to write and before you know it word of mouth will take over. I envision many saying “Have you heard about the Beach Books and Board Store, OMG you’ve got to go,” It’s an experience you’ll never forget, from the ambiance to the great customer service.” “And oh by the way they have great books and surf boards too.” By adding workshops, book reading and signings will just be icing on the cake. Be creative, you can do events on the beach,such as a Beach Pow Wow around a bonfire all in attendance can take turns talking about the greatest book they ever read and what was going on in their life at the time and how that book changed their life, etc. (I’m sure you get the picture.) I look forward to hearing all about your progress as you make your transition to your dream come true life.

  27. My best wishes to you with the sale of your home and buying your new home in CA. I know it is hard to leave a house that you love, but it sounds like you are leaving it for new adventures in a lovely town. I moved to CA decades ago, and I have loved it here ever since. I do love the bookstore idea. A cozy place by the water sounds lovely.

  28. All of the ideas are great but the people make the store and if they are like you and Ty then it should be a great success. If you find someone to run the store who knows books and loves the patrons as well and you love your readers and as well as Ty taught surfing, well we know how that went!:)
    Big comfy chairs, great children’s books and authors are always fun too!!

  29. Congratulations on the new house, I hope you get it and it all goes smoothly. I hope someone who really loves your current home as much as you do, is who buys it. Like I’ve said before, I’d love that library!

    A bookstore that feels like part of the community, will survive. Little Duvall has a used bookstore and it does very well in town. Something that feels comfortable and like home. Comfy chairs. Coffee and tea, and easy snacks, but not a lunch spot (you have to draw the line somewhere, and before you know it, you’d have a full cafe/restaurant). A good kids’ selection and story times. No, I don’t think you need every type of book, not even every type of fiction, but shoppers will look for the top titles. Obscure sci-fi is probably not necessary. A little market research would tell you what your local community would buy. Get to know the school librarians, help them establish school book clubs. Our middle school has an after school one, called pizza and pages, it would work in a retail location, too. Help support local school library bookfairs and get your name out there. Author events would be a great draw for adults and kids alike! Support local authors, too, it makes great souvenirs for those tourists who wander in from the beach – a t-shirt and a book. 🙂

    Owning your own business is more than a full time job. But every town needs a bookstore.

    I’m glad the new book series is going well, can’t wait to read it!

  30. Hi Jane,
    I agree – all towns need a great bookstore. I think you should have a kid corner where kids can be alone with their books while their parents are roaming the bookstore. You should also have a Jane Porter section where you have all your books and all your favorite books as well in one central location.


  31. I LOVE that you are doing this! Someday I would love/hope to own a book store as well…but for you…how exciting! I think Beach bookstore are the BEST. There probably (I have NO idea where San Clemente is) isn’t a B&N…and I truly believe – every town need a book store(s). Seriously! Our is always crowded (B&N). That being said, I know it’s hard for Independent Booksellers, but I think target niche market will be a hit. Once you settle and get a feel for the area, you will know what to stock (and give buyers the option to order). In my travels in the last year, I have found FOUR independent booksellers that I LOVE. Awesome, cool book stores. I love to see what they stock…not what a big “corporate buyer” wants me to read. What to include? Everything you listed, for sure. Plus YOU will be a big selling point. And I think you need a wine night….Wine Wednesdays…make it a community event. I can’t wait to visit!

  32. I love your idea of a small bookstore! I have relatives in San Clemente and I would love to go visit it sometime in the future!

  33. Oooh! Great idea. I have no experience in retail either. As a customer I would appreciate a wide selection of genre fiction, YA, kids, maybe go light on ‘serious’ books. I’m guessing that cookbooks and nonfiction self-help, inspirational sell well but I don’t know. Absolutely must sell coffee and host many types of community events.

    Have you visited Nora Roberts bookstore in MD? I’ve heard she hosts signing parties.

    Best of luck!

  34. My daughter and I once went to a terrific event celebrating Raggedy Ann and her books. I brought my childhood Raggedy Ann and she brought her new one. She wore Raggedy Ann sweater I had when I was a girl. They did face painting like a doll’s face. We’re from Indiana, where the Raggedy Ann author was from. We’ve also been to a Mad Hatter tea before. Both served finger foods. The tea had tiny bottles with blue fluid that said “Drink Me.” These might be too involved for a small bookstore, but perhaps you could have a “Friends of the Bookstore” like libraries do. Volunteers could make food for special events. Or have a business sponsor the catering. 🙂

  35. Great idea! I agree and think every town needs a bookstore. I love the idea about making it kid friendly as well. That would be great if parents could go enjoy coffee and a book while the kids can be reading in a cozy area of their own.

  36. Loving the idea of the book-store. You must incorporate a little coffee shop area. My favorite bookstore thrives because of this I’m sure.

  37. First of all congratulations on the new home 🙂

    Second, I would love to have a bookstore like you are describing where I live but since I live in Israel I don’t think it’s going to happen 🙁

    I do think that you can make money from a brick and mortar bookstores but you do have to offer something extra from the online book store and all the things you wrote are great ways to attract people to a book store. Maybe adding a discount card for members and if you do book signing you can offer the author books at a discount.
    I hope you’ll find the time to open this book store and if you do wishing you lots of luck 🙂

  38. I think that your idea of a bookstore and surf shop is very creative and unique. I would love to have one of those to frequent. I too love book stores and think that there should be one in every town. The book/surf shop should be quaint. Nothing too over the top or fancy but cozy and fun. I would stick to just fiction, but then again that’s all I read.

    Good luck with the house. I hope they accept your offer. How exciting to be moving to Cali. I would love to live somewhere where it’s warm most of the year. I live in upstate NY and the winters can be challenging. I have to say that we have had a very mild winter so far. Not much snow and it’s been warmer than usual. My definition of warmer (this time of year) means in the 40’s. Hey, I’ll take it.

    Have a wonderful weekend!

  39. Jane,
    I have a very similar dream. I love, love, love book stores and would love to have one myself. The only kind of bookstores here are Barnes and Nobles. Although I like them, there is just something about the cozy local book store that draws me. I love the idea of having a place for writers to sit and write and plan…and who doesn’t need coffee?

    And you can have a big opening party and some of your fans can come help you celebrate!!! Lol.

    Congrats on your new home! How exciting!

  40. Congratulations and best wishes on your new home. The setting and house sounds wonderful and a great place for a family. Beach closeby and historic house are great. A bookstore with storytime, bookclubs, coffee bar are all enticing and I love indies which are so appealing and important. part of the community and so vital. it is a fabulous idea. Good luck on acquiring the house, your writing and the bookstore ideas.

  41. What if you did a cute used bookstore? The work beforehand would probably be very tedious and take a long time, but it would be so much fun to shop for those books!

    I love this idea of a bookstore! As long as you broke even it would be okay, right? All your money will probably go to rent, so I’m thinking small and cozy!

  42. How exciting!!! You will love beach life!!!

    I grew up in a sweet beach city in CA, my best friend from high school, made her way back there. So of course we visit a couple times a year.

    Looks like we will need to go further south and stop your new bookstore!! sounds awesome!!
    Love whole idea! community and buy local is the way to go. I think you nailed it, love all your ideas! book signing, children’s hour, all of the above!

    We have great little local bookstore in old historian house in our town, we ride our bicycles down in the summer! it’s fun!
    I believe they do live music a couple times a month in the summer.

    Wishing your the very Best! Happy Writing!:)

    I would love to email you, what are your favorite places to go in Hawaii, I finally get to go in April.

  43. I think small and homey would be great. Beachhouse-themed decor with books and accessories for the beach.

    You could use your contacts and have lots of author events with door prizes.

  44. hi jane; congrats on your new home! LOVE the idea of you having a book store. too many “towns” don’t have one; ours closed but then re-opened. i think you need to have a few cozy reading areas for adults; few cozy places for writers (or people who work with laptops)and one for kids to enjoy. i would carry books that would be” great beach reads. (books that men, women, children and teens would enjoy); then have it to where you could special order books for your customer;have a small section of used beach read books; decorate with things from local craftspeople or artists;have some baked goods from local bakers/merchants; center it around what you love. i would envision it similar to your home library with touches of the beach inside. good luck!

  45. So VERY HAPPY for you and Ty and your family. Sorry to get here late. We have been babysitting, but there is not much sitting with a 15 month old. I just finished a book by Lewis Buzbee entitled The Yellow-Lighted Bookshop and it is about the book business “from the ancients to today.” He worked in bookstores and makes some good points. He loves bookstores, too. He lives in San Francisco with his wife and daughter. If you are unable to find the book, write to me and I will mail this one to you. My best piece of advice would be to find a really good store manager, so you can keep on writing!!!

  46. Congrats on the house. As far as your book store it needs to be in my area because we don’t have a good books store here. Love book stores. I think the bookstore and surf shop is a great idea and it would really work in your area. That way you could have a little of everything for the beach.

  47. Hi Jane,
    Oh my, so many things going on in your life right now. The new home sounds great! I love the thought of a bookstore. I can picture what it would looks like in my head. So many of the other bookstores have a very typical style and look. I can see yours looking very hip, modern and fun. I could see broken surf boards becoming chairs and table tops. It should be bright, warm and inviting. A cool coffee shop with great snackies, Wi-Fi, and a wide arrangement of books with the option of having some signed copies; kid friendly too. Oh and let’s not forget the surf shop! I know you will make it a great place with your wonderful sense of style. I hope you have a great weekend. Lisa

  48. Oh I hope you get the house you want.

    You know I like the idea of a not too big book store but just big enough. You know one that is so big you can’t find anything. I like stores where the clerks remember me and treat me like an old friend.
    I find myself shopping at place where I feel like a valued friend more than a valued customer.
    I hope that made sense.
    i think the shop is a great idea. I know you will get loads of business just because it is “Jane Porter” the authors shop. I know it will have that Jane added twist that we have all came to expect over the years.

  49. Love the bookstore idea. I do have some retail experience and some cafe experience… I think that yours would be a very “boutique” bookstore so it might work, esp. seeing that you will be in a fairly affluent area? A small section of gift items maybe… and yes, I think it should have some of all fiction (or at least NYTimes bestsellers for each genre) but maybe be known for specializing in women’s fiction, romance and children/YA…

    Also, pls post your Bellevue house listing! Maybe a reader would want to buy your house 🙂

  50. I hope you get the house you want. I love the ideas you have for the bookstore you want to open. I think a middle size store with a comfy feel about it will draw customers.

  51. Oh Jane, that’s my dream! The beach, books, and coffee!

    Opening a new business is always scary. (We just celebrated three years on Dec. 23rd.) But it can be so rewarding too. Do some research – have bookstores opened in the area in prior years, but closed down? Why didn’t they succeed? what will you do, or can you do that is different? What is the best location? When looking for a location, check out the traffic (motor and pedestrian). Is it off the beaten path, or easy to get to? Tucked into a corner is nice and cozy, but hard for people to find.

    If serving food, don’t do too much. Have a few fabulous items that people will want to come back for. Don’t give too many choices. It’s harder to keep stocked, costs more money, and you have to make sure you use the stock before it goes bad. Serving seasonal and regional items is also really cool. I love going to new places and trying something that I can only get from that region, or locale.

    Showcasing local authors, artists, etc. is a good way to get the word out through them and to people in their circles. Word of mouth is free too!

    Having a friendly place for aspiring writers is a wonderful idea. November is National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) and what fun it would be to offer promos for people who participate to come to the store. It would also be a great venue for you to teach your own writing workshops, and of course, invite all of your writing friends!

    Just a few ideas I’ve had rambling around my brain. Jane, whatever you do, whenever you do it, it will be a success! Looking forward to having you back in CA!

  52. Happy you have found a house you like in California. I am sure being closer to family is going to be great.
    As for the book store, what a beautiful dream. It is going to be a most beloved place for women to meet, mingle and find new friends.
    The best of luck to you.

  53. Congratulations on your new home! I hope they take your offer. Washington will suffer your loss…but we will be happy that you have found a new home. I love the idea of your bookstore. I can see it now…I like the idea of a coffee bar and an eclectic group of fiction would be nice. Something for everyone with some odd books thrown in, eh? I don’t think it has to be huge but not too small either. You want there to be ample space for all the fans and friends that will come to see you. Cozy and inviting is your aim…what a wonderful idea. I would so love to have a book store!

  54. Hi Jane,

    I think this is definitely a case of “size doesn’t matter!” I think if you have a huge store, it won’t feel intimate and homey, which will be key to its success. The staff will need to get to know the customers on a first name basis and you will need to do lots of community friendly events to build relationships with them. So not just regular story hour, but story hour in jammies next to the fireplace (yep, you need one of those), with hot cocoa and cookies. This will also make the events unique and media worthy for press releases and such with the local media. And kid friendly items on the cafe menu like really good PB&J and mac and cheese-which will probably end up appealing to the grown-ups as it does the kids. I work in PR, can you tell? 🙂 So glad that your family will finally get to be together in one place and start this next phase of your lives.


  55. Jane,

    Good Luck with the house. I think the bookstore sounds like a fabulous idea! I would defintely patronize it since it would only be 30 mins away! I think that having the writer workshops would be a definite draw as well. You deserve only Blessings on your new adventures. Thank you for always sharing with us.

  56. Moving is always an exciting event and happy you found a house both of you like.

    For the bookstore, it should be in an older shop or house. We have one in town here that has multiple levels and different sections for each genre. You must have cards. I love to find unique birthday cards. Also you should have a place for people with laptops to plug in and hang out. And greenery…spider plants, ficus trees. Must have coffee and chocolates!!!

  57. What a great idea! I think it would do amazing! As for your questions- No, I don’t think it would need to be huge. I don’t like huge bookstores. Something med. size and inviting would be great! I would think being open late hours would be great for writers. Coffee and sweets pastries would help business for sure! I love the idea about the kids corner. My only issue: I wish we lived a little closer, would love to have a shop like this in my city! 🙂

  58. Now for the skunk at the picnic…

    First of all find any small bookstores that are surviving and research how they are surviving and what their future is.

    Boards & Books is a combo put together not out of market need but your particular interests. The two customer bases seem incompatible to me.

    Filling unmet needs is always a better business model. As one who did it for far too many years, funding an unprofitable business becomes a real drag.

    Sorry to be such a downer but businesses are often easier to get into than to get out of.

  59. Hi Jane,

    I love the idea of a book store. I´m very much into books and it does not need to be big in my mind. I love those old almost antique looking bookstores and it´s the books that drags me into them. And if they also have a place for kids to play and read, like at the Library, then I´m there 🙂

  60. Hi Jane! I can totally picture you as a bookstore owner! I think you’d be so great at that. My dream bookstore would be something along the lines of the one that Meg Ryan’s character owned in “You’ve Got Mail”. Quaint, charming, unique, and friendly. One that encourages children’s love of reading by being inviting to them. Beanbag chairs and bright colors.

    I can see it now, Jane, and I think you’ll do so great!

  61. Hello Jane,

    I think that your idea of a book and board shop is brilliant. I love creative and one of a kind places. This would definitely fit into that category. I think that whatever you do to the place will be perfect. With yours and your husband’s creativity, it will be just amazing. I hope to visit sometime and see it for myself. I live in Tennessee and there is nothing like that here. We have book stores, but not quite enough. With all of the Border’s closing we are limited 🙁

    I hope you had a wonderful weekend!

  62. It’s wonderful that you will soon have a home that is both of yours. And even if this house doesn’t work out, the right one will come along. Your life sounds so exciting, Jane!

    There is a small bookstore here in town that is owned by a local woman. I love it. She has a tradition of flipping for free coffee in the morning with the customers. This started as a gimmick to get people to come in and drink coffee and buy books. And seven years later, they are still doing it!

    A good small-town bookstore should have lots of comfortable chairs in quiet corners. Good coffee. Friendly work staff. Fiction of all kinds! And maybe even a cat or two!

  63. Keeping my fingers crossed for the house.

    As far as the bookstore, it sounds wonderful and you should totally follow your dream. If you like to keep it small, but still be able to do workshops and speaker events, maybe you can find a place nearby that can accommodate bigger events.

  64. Your bookstore idea sounds fun and cozy. I love the beach and books so it would definitely be a place I’d visit to look at books either before or after the beach. Good luck 🙂

  65. Having your own book store would be dangerous, so many books and so little time! Smaller has to be best, leave the best sellers and diet books to the big chains and Costco! Your ideas sound lovely, and remind me of my favorite book stores that are cozy and personal.

  66. How about an artist wall where local artists could display their work in your bookstore…of course you’re busy with of buying house, selling house and writing a trilogy, but it is fun to dream with you.

  67. OMG How exciting for you all this great stuff happening for you and your family. I would love to see more. Good Coffee, friendly staff and more author book signing would get me there for sure and I would bring my friends with me.
    Love the smell of a book store and coffee together nothing better than that. Good luck with the selling of your home.

  68. Your bookstore is gonna be unique, for sure. I think it should be a medium to large store especially while hosting authors with maybe some wine book signings. I like all your ideas and would also add some computers for your guests/patrons to use. Might be cool to have a ‘gently’ read book area too where books can be brought in for trade or store credit for children and adults. It certainly will be a nice community place for all…fun and upbeat. I’m so excited for you in getting the whole family under one roof so good luck with the new house!!

  69. What an awesome idea! I think it would do great and I agree that every town needs a bookstore! It would be great to have it kids friendly. Author signings and coffee/light food would be a great addition to the books. So excited for you and glad to hear you have found a house!

  70. I adore this idea! I think you have a unique platform in being able to cross it w/Ty’s love of surfing and the locale. I hesitate to say it s/b a specialty store has that has the potential to limit it, but being specialized in, say, romance, women’s fiction and sports books (for example), wouldn’t be so bad. Look at how successful La Nora’s store was (even before the fame) b/c of ability to cater to the community around her. Nowadays, she has big ass signings too. Definitely think there should be some sort of refreshment – ppl tend to linger when they have a drink and snack to tide them over.

    Like I said, I love this idea. Already I can see myself coming out someday – one day – for a book signing of my own… 😉

  71. I love the idea of a quaint book store, but must caution you. We have had three wonderful book stores here locally and none are still in business. Costco, Barnes & Noble, Kindle and all the iphone/ipad apps are tough competitors. Please do a market research, and evaluation of the area before you make any moves. From a business perspective few do this any more, get excited about opening “their dream shop”, and end up broken hearted.

    I would say the three that were here could have benefited from being a coffee shop with a book store incorporated. My favorite hole in the wall coffee shop/book store in San Luis Obispo has been there for almost 30 years. They highlight local artists monthly, which changes up the scenery. Have a small performing area where local musicians come and play on the weekends. And, my favorite an out door garden area where there are water elements, a brick flooring and plants with tables dotted through out. It is comfortable, warm and inviting. I think the only thing they could improve upon is to provide an area where they could host local book clubs. If you bring in local readers in or interested in forming a reading group it will feed your business. They only serve coffee, tea and finger foods/pastries. All home made!

    If you are ever in the area I would love to take you there! Market research is important! LOL

  72. Keeping my fingers crossed for you on getting the new house. The location sounds perfect!

    I am not as psyched about a book store though, mainly because I’ve owned a retail business and between keeping trustworthy employees and maintaining well stocked inventory, I was working 80 hours a week. My business partner was putting in the same hours and we had a full-time manager too. It got to be like that saying about owning a boat- The happiest day in my life was when I bought the boat and the second happiest day was when I sold it! That’s how we felt about the store. When it closed after five years (of time that I lost with family and friends)I ended up with a basement full of things that needed to be sold. Ugh. It hung over my head.

    I’d think that this sort of experience would definitely affect the writing process…Sorry if that bursts your bubble…

  73. Hey all, thank you so much for all the wonderful tips and advice about bookstores! I’m loving all of it and have made lots of notes to keep in mind as we think further on this venture. You guys truly ROCK!! I can’t believe all the advice that’s been shared. It means so much to me!!

    So, time to announce the winners! I had Mac help me pick three numbers and they are:

    # 31 – Nancy E.
    # 52 – Mina Lee
    # 12 – Linsey T.

    Shoot me an email with your info so I can get these prizes in the mail!


  74. It’s a beautiful dream Jane, and I think that if anyone can make it happen you can!

    Our city has 1 small chain book store, which we visit often, but I wish it had better selection at all ages. I would love to take my kids (and myself!) to the book store you’re planning. I think the key is to get people in the door with the kind of interactive and fun events for children and adults.

    Good luck with the writing, the move and everything else in between!

  75. If an independent bookstore can survive anywhere these days, San Clemente would be the place. We really need one in the area. And by the way, when you get all settled in and want some other women to surf with, look up Wahine Kai surf club online and come paddle out with us! We surf San O, Doheny, Trestles—all the great breaks right around San Clemente. 🙂

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