Friday, January 25, 2013

The Other Change of Hobbit Needs Your Help!

Feb 4, 2013 UPDATE: The Other Change of Hobbit has been served an eviction notice. Thank you to everyone who bought books to try to stave off closure, and to the staff of TOCOH, thanks for all the books and the memories.

The Other Change of Hobbit is an independent SF & F bookstore located in Berkeley, California. They have been around since 1977, and according to Wikipedia, they opened on the same weekend that Star Wars came out.

TOCOH has been struggling financially, and now they're in dire straits: if they can't make enough to pay the rent this weekend, they may have to close their doors for good.

If you can, please visit them this weekend and buy a book or ten. You can find instructions for how to reach them on their website.

If you can't visit, you can buy books from them online! You can buy from them via Abebooks, or bid on some of their older, cheaper books on eBay.

And even if you don't have a penny to spare, you can spread the word about them on Facebook and Twitter.

Why is The Other Change of Hobbit worth saving? They are a Bay Area icon, and over the years have hosted readings and signings from a staggering number of SF & F authors. Here are only a few:
Peter S. Beagle, author of The Last Unicorn and classy gent

Neil Gaiman, author of half the SF&F fantasy books you love, and literary heartthrob

Terry Pratchett, author of the Discworld series of novels, and a real-life knight

Cory Doctorow, co-editor of Boing Boing, author of Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom, Little Brother, and internet hero
You can see even more past events at their website's events page.

On a personal note, when I first moved to the Bay Area and had nothing else to do with my evenings, I would often walk down to The Other Change of Hobbit's old location and browse the shelves crammed with books. At the time, the store was located next to Comic Relief, another Bay Area legend that was forced to shut down. I first learned about China Mieville from Dave Nee, one of the founders of TOCOH, and that's also where I picked up The Last Unicorn, War for the Oaks, American Gods, and many other great novels. Yesterday, I walked down there again, though the walk is a lot longer now than it was. I picked up Becky Cloonan's illustrated version of Dracula and another copy of American Gods, this time the hardcover 10th Anniversary edition.

Come to think of it, I think American Gods might have been the first book I ever bought at The Other Change of Hobbit. I hope it won't be the last.

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