EUREKA BOOKS (est. 1987)
426 2nd St. Eureka, CA 95501. Map It
(707) 444-9593
logo image  logo image  logo image

Honey, I Bought a Bookstore

December 5th, 2007  |  Published in Eureka Books  |  20 Comments


This is Eureka Books, one of the last classic antiquarian bookstores on the West Coast. As of 10 a.m. Wednesday, I own it (along with my wife and our friends Jack and Peggy Irvine). I like this picture because in black and white you really can't tell if it was taken last week (which it was) or twenty years ago. Those of you who scouted in Northern California probably know Carlos Benemann, the previous owner who is retiring from the book trade. He started out working for John Howell in the 1960s and opened his first shop in Humboldt County in 1982.

One of the former employees recently wrote about Jere Bob Bowden, the store manager, in the  Americana Exchange newsletter (A.E. Monthly). Karen Wright wrote:

Eventually, we moved from Oregon to Eureka, California, where I had the good fortune to immediately go to work for Eureka Books. The eight years I spent at Powell's taught me a lot about the book business, but the two years I worked for J.B. Bowden at Eureka Books taught me about books. J.B. was a stickler for searching long and hard through mountains of reference books to price a book correctly. Keep in mind that this was pre-Internet or, at least, just at the beginning of its rise to fame. Eureka Books did not even have a computer when I worked there, so I was forced to learn to price my books the old-fashioned (correct) way. I couldn't just jump online and see what some other idiot was pricing a book for and then undercut him by two dollars.

Mark Shikuma, who holds down the fort on the weekends, is a veteran of Gotham Book Mart in New York City, and a number of other bookshops around the country. Ann Hunt, the newest bookseller at Eureka Books, has been plying the book trade for ten years and is our master of the local history section. I look forward to working with them as Eureka Books starts its second twenty years. The next time you're in Northern California, beyond the redwood curtain, stop in and see us.

As for the magazine, it's business at usual. The January/February issue is just about in the can, and the stories for March are already flowing in. Now when people accuse me of not knowing what I'm talking about when it comes to the nuts-and-bolts reality of the book business, they may be right, but it's not for lack of trying.


  1. Björn Biester says:

    December 5th, 2007at 4:49 am(#)

    Congratulations! That’s good news!

  2. Benjamin L. Clark says:

    December 5th, 2007at 6:23 am(#)

    Congratulations! Has this been in the works for a while, or did it fall into your lap, so to speak?

  3. Scott Brown says:

    December 5th, 2007at 8:53 am(#)

    The answer to Benjamin’s questions is yes.

  4. none says:

    December 5th, 2007at 11:59 am(#)

    So that’s why we’re late on the magazine, right?
    Congratulations!!! Wow!

  5. trav says:

    December 5th, 2007at 12:16 pm(#)

    Congratulations! That looks to be a great shop. Will you be selling online any? Or just from within the brick and mortar store?

  6. jgodsey says:

    December 5th, 2007at 1:26 pm(#)

    Congratulfreakinlations. now go take a lie down, that was a huge undertaking.
    don’t forget the liquor goes in the right hand drawer and the loaded revolver on the left. don’t mix them up.

  7. J. Herzog says:

    December 5th, 2007at 2:07 pm(#)

    Congratulations and good luck from all of us here at Northtown Books.

  8. Samantha says:

    December 5th, 2007at 2:26 pm(#)

    Congratulations from the crew at Tin Can Mailman! We were thrilled to hear Eureka Books was sold to such nice folks!!

  9. Vic Stewart says:

    December 5th, 2007at 3:56 pm(#)

    Congratulations from all of us here at Auto Weekly! Good work, Scott!

  10. T. Brennan says:

    December 5th, 2007at 4:30 pm(#)

    Very, very exciting. Congratulations & best wishes for success. Bookshops ain’t over til they’re over.

  11. Mike Buettner says:

    December 5th, 2007at 6:05 pm(#)

    Thank you!

  12. Ian J. Kahn says:

    December 5th, 2007at 6:42 pm(#)

    Wonderful news, Scott. I wish you nothing but the best and look forward to tales of continued success. Welcome on another aspect of the business.

  13. Ellin Beltz says:

    December 6th, 2007at 10:03 am(#)

    Fabulous news! I’ll drop in the first time I’m in Eureka! And I know how thrilled you are… my husband and I just bought Hobart Galleries, the oldest art gallery in Humboldt County, in Ferndale!
    Unknown treasures in every box! Thanks for the fabulous news!

  14. Karen Wright says:

    December 6th, 2007at 3:43 pm(#)

    Thanks for quoting me from AEMonthly. Jerebob is the best and I can’t tell you how glad I am that he gets to stay in “his” store. Be nice to him or I’ll have to getcha! We’ll come say hello when we come up in the spring. Regards and good luck, Karen Wright, The Wright Book

  15. susan harris says:

    December 6th, 2007at 3:46 pm(#)

    As awesome as that facade is, I’m already imagining it all flowered up by Amy. Over on GardenRant we want to see a photo of that, if you please, with the proud owners lined up in front, grinning.

  16. Nigel Beale says:

    December 8th, 2007at 10:40 am(#)

    Wonderful news! Interior and exterior both look just right!

  17. Nigel Beale says:

    December 8th, 2007at 10:40 am(#)

    Wonderful news! Interior and exterior both look just right!

  18. sarahsbooks says:

    December 11th, 2007at 11:44 am(#)

    I must add my congratulations – what a perfect storefront – not to mention the lovely interior. Does this mean we’ll see more stories in the magazine about booksellers??

  19. Bibliognost says:

    December 11th, 2007at 8:36 pm(#)

    Congrats on the new adventure. It’s a beautiful bookstore!

  20. Derek Dahlsad says:

    December 12th, 2007at 6:34 am(#)

    How cool — congratulations! It seems to be every booklover’s dream, and it gives hope to the rest of us when somebody succeeds like you have.

Leave a Response

You must be logged in to post a comment.