When I moved to Cupertino in 1989, it had several general bookstores: A Clean Well-Lighted Place for Books in the Oaks, a B. Dalton in Cupertino Crossroads, a Waldenbooks in Vallco Mall, and a Crown Books in the Marketplace (across from Vallco). Stacey’s later opened a branch near Vallco. For the geeks, there was Computer Literacy Bookshops. Things stayed the same for about 5 years.

Then, both A Clean Well-Lighted Place and Stacey’s have retreated back to their home bases in San Francisco. Crown Books went bankrupt. The B. Dalton became a bank. The Waldenbooks closed when Vallco went downhill. Computer Literacy Bookshops was bought out and the Cupertino store was closed. (It then became Fatbrain.com and was bought by Barnes & Noble, and the remaining physical stores were also closed.)

So now, in an affluent, highly educated, highly literate city of more than 50,000 people, the nearest bookstores are miles away in Sunnyvale and San Jose. What the *&*#$ is wrong here? How can I keep my tax dollars in my hometown? I only hope that when Vallco is renovated, a Borders or Barnes & Noble comes in.

(Granted, I’m not counting the tiny bookstores that do exist in Cupertino: those that sell spiritual/religious books, Asian language books, or spiritual/religious books written in Asian languages.)