Copperfield's Reinvents Events
As part of a "total reinvention" of the stores' events programs, Copperfield's Books, which has eight locations in Sonoma and Napa counties in Northern California, is launching several new themed series, all of which make us wish even more that we lived in the area.
The most striking is the Debut Dinner series, which this season consists of three dinners, each for a different first novelist, that will be held at local restaurants. Readers pay between $65 and $75, have a three-course meal with wine, speak with the author and receive a copy of the book. The first dinner features Amanda Coplin, author of The Orchardist, and takes place Tuesday, September 4. at Forchetta/Bastoni in Sebastapol. The next will be on Friday, October 12, at Risibisi in Petaluma and honor Kathleen Alcott, author of The Dangers of Proximal Alphabets. Then on Monday, November 12, at Bistro 29 in Santa Rosa, the debut dinner features Scott Hutchins, author of A Working Theory of Love.
Copperfield's marketing and events director Vicki DeArmon expects 30-50 attendees at each dinner and said that the staff are "voracious readers" who individually have championed debut authors before. This marks the first time the stores have done something company-wide. Customers and publishers are responding well, she added.
"It's a great way for us to say to our customers that they can get to discover the next great new author," she said. The dinners also emphasize "the role of the independent bookseller to champion new and emerging authors."
Like some of Copperfield's other new events, the Debut Dinner program resulted, she said, from staffers asking themselves, "What kind of events would we want to go to? What would inspire us?"
Earlier this year, after the staff decided to hold dinners for first novelists, DeArmon said, "we did a lot of reading, listened to the reps and decided on these three." The dinner format came in part because the area is "known for fabulous restaurants," she said. The staff is already reading up to decide on next spring's lineup of authors.
Another new ticketed series consists of High Tea events, which take place at Jacqueline's High Tea in Petaluma and celebrate "the best women's authors." The fall events feature Tatjana Soli, author of The Forgetting Tree, Joanne Harris, author of Peaches for Father Francis, and Laurie R. King, author of Garment of Shadows. Each tea costs $50 per person, accommodates about 80 people and includes "the company of other great women who love to read," as the store put it. The store's first High Tea, held last June as a test, sold out and was "excellent," DeArmon said.
Another ticketed event, on November 15, features Barbara Kingsolver, whose new novel is Flight Behavior. The Santa Rosa store is hosting her at the Wells Fargo Center for the Arts.
As if this all isn't enough, next season Copperfield's is introducing Dinners to Die For, a mystery series.
"We do more than 500 events a year and 95% are free," DeArmon said. "These new ticketed events are very special."
Some of the bookstores' free events are very special, too: for example, on October 24, the Petaluma store hosts Michael Chabon, whose new novel is Telegraph Avenue. And the free authors on the stage series, which takes place outside next to the Santa Rosa store in Montgomery Village, includes appearances in September by Junot Diaz, whose new book is This Is How You Lose Her, and T.C. Boyle, author of San Miguel.
The Copperfield's Cooks series is held Saturday afternoons in the showcase kitchen of the Culinary Center in the Whole Foods behind Copperfield's new location in Napa. Cookbook authors demonstrate some of their favorite dishes.
Like so many of Copperfield's events, Copperfield's Cooks sounds like a delicious event. As DeArmon said, "The whole combo of food and wine and author works really well in Sonoma and Napa."