By Paul Bendix
Reborn Kepler's ThrivesUploaded: Mar 2, 2015
Menlo Park has happily moved from the 'rescue of Kepler's,' to supporting its next stage...call it 'revitalization' or even 'expansion.' What's expanding is the mission and scope of the redoubtable bookseller. A chat with Praveen Madan, Kepler's CEO, points in several positive directions.
First, book sales are up 8%, from 2013 to 2014. The redesigned operation is working well. Public events under the new nonprofit Peninsula Arts and Letters are often packed or sold out -- and they showcase major cultural figures. To put this in perspective.... In recent days NPR and the BBC World Service interviewed Kazuo Ishiguro (author of Remains of the Day)...and Kepler's presents him live on 2 April.
Kepler's is a community operation now. And if its new structure seems hard to define, that's because it is truly pioneering.
It's all about literacy with mission creep. Think 'literacy' as a shared adventure. For some, it's learning to read or read better or read more enjoyably. For others, it's tackling classic literature...or global, multicultural fiction...the latest in economics or technology...whatever. Look at the book group shelves at Kepler's to get a sense of 'community reading in action.'
Kepler's CEO seemed happily harried the other day, so I kept our talk short. Still, I glanced at his posted favorite reads on my way out. The latter included my favorite Alice Munro...and I immediately decided Praveen must be an okay guy. Books are a way to connect. And the revitalized Kepler's is all about community and connection.