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But She Is In Her Grave, And Oh! The Difference To Me...

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We heard it through the grapevine - actually, through Neil Gaiman's weblog - and we're just about to lose our minds. Kepler's Books in Menlo Park, the famous South Bay independent bookstore, has closed its doors after 50 years.

The Palo Alto Online News reports that City Hall officials were aware that the owner, Clark Kepler, was struggling with high rents in the wealthy area. Menlo Park is in between Atherton, one of the wealthiest suburbs in the United States, and the equally overpriced Palo Alto, home of Stanford University. Clark's personal message at www.keplers.com does not specifically refer to rent increases, but he says that "the economic downturn since 2001 has proven to be more than we can rebound from."

Roy Kepler, social activist, founded Kepler's in 1955 to provide independent bookselling and dialogue for the South Bay area. His son, Clark, took over in 1979, and by 2004 the store was more noted for its authorial events than its political demonstrations. However, its late hours, vast stock, and clean shelves still drew in everyone from professors to students to dot-com programmers to aging sixties radicals. Gaiman speaks for many authors, saying "It was one of the stores I always looked forward to signing in."