Get to Know Laurel Books in Oakland!

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In our August newsletter, we spoke with Luan Stauss from Laurel Books in Oakland about her favorite Heyday book, the hardest part about being a bookseller, and what’s currently in their window display.

What do you do?
I’m the owner, buyer, event coordinator, bookseller, bill payer, kitchen cleaner, HR manager, you name it.

How long have you been working at Laurel Books?
I opened on Sept. 15, 2001.

What’s your favorite Heyday book?
Right now Blood Strangers by Katherine Briccetti. But there are a lot to love that sell consistently.

What’s the best part about working at a bookstore?
The people who are delighted that we’ve suggested a book and come back to say what they thought and the kids who are developing a love of books each time they come in. Also all the support from other booksellers and organizations like NCIBA, NCCBA, ABA, and ABC. It’s an incredibly supportive environment filled with people who want each other to succeed. It’s nice to know that there’s always someone to ask a question of or commiserate with or celebrate a success with.

The hardest part?
The public’s perception that there are no independent, neighborhood bookstores around. We’re here, we’re just often overlooked. And the perception that online sellers can do more than we can. Indies can do so much more than put a book in your mailbox, or we can do just that if that’s what you want. Many don’t realize how much we support our local economies and how little the others do.

First line in a book you’re currently reading?
“The plane had yet to take off, but Osgood, the photographer, was already softly snoring.” Ape House by Sara Gruen, due in September.

What’s currently in your window display?
Three windows: Children’s is mythology and folktales right now, one adult is mystery, the other is writing books. All about to change.

Do you host any speakers/events at your store? If so, what kind?
We do hold events. There are so many things going on in Oakland and the Bay Area any given night that it’s tough to get a crowd these days, but those who do come to an event usually have a great time and realize how amazing it can be to get to know an author.

How can people find out more information about you guys?
Our e-newsletter goes out nearly weekly with events and newly arrived books listed. Our website is and is still fairly new. But the best way is to come in. See what we have, what we don’t have, and how nice it is to be in a neighborhood bookstore.

What are you excited about these days?
The really good books coming out each season. People realizing that even with e-readers, they still really love the printed book.


  1. Hurray, great to see that local bookstores are still thriving!