Beloved Oakland bookstore on ‘shaky ground,’ best-selling author rallies community for help

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By Yosi Yahoudai
Founder and Managing Partner


OAKLAND, Calif. – The owner of a beloved neighborhood bookstore in Oakland is in need of help as she’s struggled with health issues and has been fighting to keep her doors open. 

Kathleen Caldwell’s A Great Good Place for Books is located in the heart of Montclair Village and has long served as a cozy sanctuary for book lovers of all ages.   

The business has managed to stay afloat with the support of its local community despite competition from online giants like Amazon, which continue to threaten the existence of local, independent bookstores. 

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In years past, a plate of cookies would be awaiting young readers in the back of the quaint store where the walls were stacked with children’s books.

Caldwell has created a space where customers can find personalized recommendations and a wide selection of books.

Her store has been known for hosting both emerging and well established writers for book promotion events. 

And Caldwell has been described as an expert in her field and a longtime “champion to authors and their books.”

But now, in a new GoFundMe campaign launched last week, her community was being asked to help be a champion for her in the wake of cancer treatment and a downturn in business in a post-pandemic economic landscape.  

Heading up the fundraising effort was Caldwell’s friend and award-winning writer Gayle Forman, author of New York Times bestseller “If I stay.” 

“Two years ago, Kathleen fell ill with a serious case of sepsis, and while being treated, doctors discovered she had cancer. She had four surgeries in one year, followed by a year of treatment and recovery,” Forman shared on GoFundMe, noting that her friend has been cancer-free for one year.

But, Forman said, “The bad news is: the treatment, coming on the heels of the pandemic, and a very slow spring, has left Kathleen depleted and the store on shaky ground.”

The author explained that her friend has now turned to her friends and community for help, adding she had done so reluctantly for fear of being a burden.

“But if you are anything like me, you are happy to champion her right back again and make sure her wonderful little store continues to be a beacon for readers and writers,” Forman shared. 

And so far, the community has been quick to respond. More than $15K has been raised in less than a week.

In an update on GoFundMe on Monday, Forman expressed gratitude to the “friends of Kathleen” for their response, as she shared a message from the bookstore owner herself: “Please thank everyone for amazing support and generosity. Love you!”

Forman said the money raised would go to the store’s account “to insure Great Good Place For Books stays a great good place for books (and people).”

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About the Author
Yosi Yahoudai is a founder and the managing partner of J&Y. His practice is comprised primarily of cases involving automobile and motorcycle accidents, but he also represents people in premises liability lawsuits, including suits alleging dangerous conditions of public property, third-party criminal conduct, and intentional torts. He also has expertise in cases involving product defects, dog bites, elder abuse, and sexual assault. He earned his Bachelor of Arts from the University of California and is admitted to practice in all California State Courts, and the United States District Court for the Southern District of California. If you have any questions about this article, you can contact Yosi by clicking here.