What is a book, if not the ideas that it contains? What is a bookstore, if not a shrine to ideas, feelings and creativity, to Truth itself? What is a bookstore’s purpose, if not to awaken the heart and mind of people? Swami Kriyananda, who founded the original Ananda East West Bookshop in Menlo Park, gave us our motto (originally an ancient Greek aphorism) “Know Thyself” and used to tell our managers in the past, “Make sure it feels like a bookstore!” I believe he was tuning into this same perspective: of the bookstore as a sanctuary for self-discovery.
My wife and I were recently on vacation this summer, road-tripping down the coastal highway of California. Along the way, we stopped by a wonderful bookstore in Mendocino which greatly impressed me. Its tall, meandering bookcases, lead me labyrinthine-like, deeper and deeper into their nooks and crannies. I immediately thought, “Now this feels like a bookstore!”
I watched myself play the role of the bookshop browser and tuned into the unique feeling of being in a bookstore. What I realized is that what drives me to shop at local bookstores isn’t the books themselves but the experience. It’s that special experience of finding that book that contains that idea that you need at that moment. A sense of being totally in the moment, and the promise of being at the right place at the right time; of synchronicity and adventure, but also of coming home.
Inspired by the experience of wandering in that California bookstore and the immortal words of Swamiji, I was determined to make East West feel more bookish and feed the curiosity of the soul. After an intense and joyful re-arranging party and a week’s worth of alphabetizing and table-setting, we have birthed a new bookstore for you!
After 2.5 years in our new location, we have finally arrived at a layout that works! In light of this, we’re calling it the “East West Finally Moves In Celebration!” On Sunday, October 15th, I invite you to come and enjoy our new layout. Take in the new look and enjoy 10% off your entire purchase (consignment excluded) and refreshments too! Be sure to look out for brand-new product lines and book titles for your Christmas lists as we stock up for the holiday season.
On behalf of all the staff, I sincerely hope you enjoy the new layout and as always we look forward to serving you!
Blessings from the bookshelves!