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Local Stories by Local People
updated: Nov 09, 2012, 8:31 AM

Chaucer's, the little bookstore that could, is featured in the LA Times.

External Link

Comments in order of when they were received | (reverse order)

 COMMENT 340917P agree helpful negative off topic

2012-11-09 08:57 AM

Nice work Chaucer's!


 COMMENT 340923P agree helpful negative off topic

2012-11-09 09:11 AM

I love Chaucers. This article makes me miss the Earthling, as well. We spent many a Saturday morning at their children's programs.


 COMMENT 340925P agree helpful negative off topic

2012-11-09 09:15 AM

3 cheers for Chaucer's. Physical books have one thing ebooks will never have, personality. You can pickup and hold a book and each feels unique, its own little world of smell, print type, and tactile sensations. You can look backwards and forwards with ease, you can make notes as you like or not, you can quickly see how far into you are, quickly find out how any pages are in it, etc... None of these things can be had with ebooks. This is why I like physical books over ebooks, I don't think physical books will be going away any time soon. Hooray for our very own Chaucer's for preservering. I wish The Earthling would have survived too.


 COMMENT 340928 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-11-09 09:21 AM

I love Chaucer's and buy my books there. If they don't stock it they can get it fast.
How many of us, who miss the Earthling, actually bought books there and not through Amazon or the box stores?


 COMMENT 340934P agree helpful negative off topic

2012-11-09 09:30 AM

When The Earthling was still around I bought books there all the time the same with Chaucer's. But I admit over the past few years I've bought most of my books via Amazon. However, now that Amazon has to charge sales tax that is changing back. Why pay tax and shipping when I don't have to. I am glad the big box stores are gone. I prefer to support local businesses.


 COMMENT 340938 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-11-09 09:35 AM

Since when was Las Positas the wrong side of town?


 COMMENT 340944 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-11-09 09:48 AM

I love shopping at Chaucer's. The employees are so knowledgeable and helpful. The book selection is amazing.


 COMMENT 340950 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-11-09 10:01 AM

The author, Pico Iyer, has always shown Santa Barbara a lot of love.

"Pico Iyer is a presidential fellow at Chapman University.

This essay is adapted from one in “My Bookstore,” a forthcoming anthology in which 80 writers describe the bookshops they love."


 COMMENT 340961P agree helpful negative off topic

2012-11-09 10:25 AM

398, agreed. I always thought of that part of town as uptown SB. Very interesting the author would say that it was the wrong side of town. Poor choice of words IMHO.


 COMMENT 340964 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-11-09 10:28 AM

I love Chaucers atmosphere and visit there nearly weekly, but I personally have found the staff reliably standoffish. I always just assumed it was the typical SB elitism with a "more well read than thou" burnish.


 MTNDRIVER agree helpful negative off topic

2012-11-09 10:51 AM

A couple hours browsing in Chaucer's is a better "date" experience than going to most movies. And the staff is great!


 COMMENT 341000 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-11-09 11:22 AM

I love Chaucer's! Sometimes I just get a craving to hold a book in my hands. I do wish they had more space to just hang out and read for awhile, but I will always go there to buy my books.

I think when they said "wrong side of town," they meant "not downtown". They mentioned Borders being at the busiest intersection in town, so I think it was in comparison to that. Not a great choice of words though.


 COMMENT 341003P agree helpful negative off topic

2012-11-09 11:26 AM

What a pleasure to read! Yay Chaucer's indeed. Thanks Mr. Ayer (for those unaware, his parents live(d) here; lost their home in Painted Cave fire; his parents moved here in '64.)
My father helped Mahri set up a computer system when Chaucer's was at Five Points. Been going there most of my life; worked xmas season there decades ago. Employees are great, especially Barbara. I buy myself a book there once a year, as a birthday present.


 COMMENT 341005P agree helpful negative off topic

2012-11-09 11:35 AM

I love Chaucer's. As I've gotten older, it's physically more difficult to navigate the narrow aisles and stand for very long. Also, parking is a problem. That's the allure of amazon.com more than prices. It looks like they support online ordering through their website. I will try that in the future.


 BECKY agree helpful negative off topic

2012-11-09 11:45 AM

I'm delighted Chaucer's got the wider publicity and hope it results in even more business. They've been my first choice for decades. Book lovers running a long-time, successful, busy bookstore -- couldn't be a better example of why to support local business.


 COMMENT 341011 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-11-09 11:53 AM

005P - I agree about the narrow aisles being kind of annoying, but "parking is a problem"?? Are we talking about the same place?


 COMMENT 341136 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-11-09 05:43 PM

I too love Chaucers and supported it for many years before the chains departed. But I am sad that it doesn't offer any space to sit. I imagine the economics are such that a bookstore cannot easily afford seating areas, but it is very regrettable. I understand a bookstore is not a library, but browsing should include being able to sit...


 COMMENT 341152 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-11-09 07:36 PM

Chaucer's is on the wrong side of town? I guess I live there too. Thanks, Pico.


 COMMENT 341222 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-11-10 07:18 AM

964, that's the exact opposite impression and experience I've always gotten from the staff at Chaucer's. They don't bombard you by asking if you need help every five minutes, but they do ask and if you need help, they're really great about finding things.

I think if you have the attitude that our town has a "typical elitism" in the first place, you might be more apt to find that kind of thing, though since it's already in your head.

Not at all trying to be snarky, I'm being serious and it doesn't come across well in print without seeming like I'm criticizing, but I think you know what I mean.


 COMMENT 341224 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-11-10 07:35 AM

Chaucer's is fantastic. We're lucky to have a real-world bookstore remaining in SB and doubly lucky that it's as good as Chaucer's (also, a big shout out to the Book Den!). I've been a customer for decades and have only ever had good experiences with the staff. Thank goodness we still have the opportunity to wander the aisles of a well-stocked bookshop, immersed in the smell, tactile experience, and knowledge presented to us by great books.


 COMMENT 341242 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-11-10 08:44 AM

By "wrong side of town," as one reader noted above, Pico simply meant not the ideal location for a bookstore, as the successful ones have generally been located downtown (from the old Earthling to Lost Horizon), indeed, California's oldest used bookstore, The Book Den, is located downtown across from the library. The last clause of the sentence: "where few visitors were likely to stumble upon it," helps one properly interpret what was intended by the phrase.


 RED CREEK agree helpful negative off topic

2012-11-10 08:48 AM

Chaucer's is a readers' bookstore. Now, that may sound a bit strange, but it is an unusually nice place to "browse" your favorite section (s), take a look at the back cover notes (and cover), and check out the shelf with all the other books by the same author or subject. They put the new books out to be easily reviewed in the fiction sections, have an up to date "award" book case, and the non-fiction shelves are packed with great books on every topic.

One may find "deals" at Amazon, but the breadth and quality of selection that only a human brain can analyze and choose for their bookshoppers can only be found at a special place named Chaucers.


 ARCHIE agree helpful negative off topic

2012-11-10 10:17 AM

The contrast of Chaucer's with on-line book buying also includes the involvement of more of our senses, so that we're more alive in the aisles than at the desk- and it places us, truly, in a social situation. The thrill of being in the book environment, in the midst of human making, surrounded by people who share this value, is an enrichment.


 COMMENT 341287 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-11-10 10:22 AM

Love Chaucers!! So glad they've kept going after the demise of so many others.


 COMMENT 341321 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-11-10 11:49 AM

Pico Iyer's writing is always full of golden nuggets. He helps explain why we love that little bookstore.


 COMMENT 341406 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-11-10 02:45 PM

I'm glad Chaucers is still kickin'. The last bastion of mom & pop bookstores in SB. I remember when Borders came to town--I among many were so up in arms about it...then when they closed their doors I had to laugh at myself because I was really disappointed. Without a single decent bookstore downtown, State St. has developed a severe case of The Stupid. Hopefully Amazon's adding sales tax will swing the tide and someone will open up shop downtown again...


 COMMENT 341415 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-11-10 03:07 PM

Hurrah for Chaucers!!!!
There's nothing else that can beat having a book in hand, to leaf through pages, to stick my nose into it and get that smell -- and also to be able to SEE what's inside the covers, get to know if this particular book -- or that one over there -- is the better choice, etc. Sorry, but to buy via a computer just isn't the same -- no way!


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