Which is why the married mother of five and full-time Santa Clara Sheriff’s deputy has taken the proverbial leap of literary faith and opened Stories Bookshop on First Street in Brentwood – a buy, sell and trade brick-and-mortar curiosity shop of words where the community can gather, discuss and share stories.
“There’s nothing like holding a book in your hand or getting together and talking about a story, debating over it and casting the characters,” said Olmos. “I own a Nook (e-reader) but I still want to hold a book in my hand, smell it and look ahead to the end of a chapter. I absolutely believe there is a place in the world for both.”
The bookshop stocks all kinds of gently worn books in a variety of titles and topics. For those who want to exchange their books for cash, Olmos will offer a 10-percent trade on the original sticker price. And for those who just want to swap their titles, a 15-percent sticker price tag will be applied as credit on books in stock. New titles will also be available on occasion, as in the case of local writer Sara Sundin’s book-signing – for her latest historical romance, “A Distant Melody.” The event is slated for May 26 at 11 a.m.
“I’m willing to take a look at everyone’s books, and if I think I can sell it, I’ll take it,” she said. “But if we find a book that isn’t in the best condition but is really cool or one-of-a-kind, we’ll take that, too.”
Olmos was bitten by the book bug late in life (“I wasn’t really exposed to them growing up”). She discovered the joy of reading only after she had a child of her own – Brianna, 18, who works at the bookshop.
“After I had my daughter we would go to bookstores and libraries and spend so much time together reading,” said Olmos. “And I just starting amassing all these books; I own over 1,000 in my personal collection, and I began thinking that I would love to have my own bookshop someday.”
So far Olmos has found some interesting one-of-a-kind items within the pages of her customer’s trade-ins, including old bookmarks, paper currency from various nations, and subway and train tickets from around the world. She even discovered a letter dating back to the 1800s folded inside one of the books. Her plan is to eventually display the treasures somewhere in the shop for customers to enjoy.
“I have so many plans, but I’m just trying to take it slowly for now,” said Olmos, who also sells greeting cards at the store. “But eventually I would love to do coffee, get a book club going and sell literary shirts and book bags.”
Open just a few weeks, Stories will mark its official foray into the community this weekend in a grand opening celebration Saturday, May 12 at 10 a.m., featuring music, refreshments, storytime and of course, books. Judging from the welcome she has received so far, Olmos feels confident Stories has found a home.
“Word has spread really well and the response so far has been nice,” said Olmos. “I had a lady come in the other day; she was passing by and looked in the window and saw a book she wanted on the table. She said she had just downloaded it on her Kindle but really wanted to buy the paper copy too. That felt really good; that’s the reason we are here, to share the community experience.”
Stories Bookshop is located at 629 First St., next to the Co. Co. County Wine Company. For more information and store hours, call 925-513-5610 or visit www.facebook.com/storiesbookshop.