This Friday, the Booksmith at 1644 Haight hosts another Bookswap. We got the inside scoop on what they're all about.
Full disclosure: Booksmith is sort of our other hat, so we are heavily biased in its favor. That said, this is a swanky neighborhood event that happens every other month, and we think you should know about it.
Every other first Friday since June of 2009, the Booksmith closes its doors at 6:30 and invites 35 or so of its closest friends to come eat, drink, and swap books.
As for the mechanics, swappers bring a book they love that fits the theme of the night (they've had all kinds of different themes in the past - science, murder mysteries, love, the circus). Then, participants sit in small groups in the back of the store, talk for 20 minutes or so about the book they brought, then switch, and sit at new tables with new people for the next round.
After three or four rounds, everyone piles the book(s) they brought on the center table, and host Amy Stephenson (if that name sounds familiar to you, you might want to check the byline up top there - see? full disclosure!) leads participants through a rowdy white-elephant session to dole the books out to their new owners. Things wind down about 10PM, and as a new addition to the last few swaps, folks head to a semi-official after-party at one of the bars on the street.
Also, the bookstore gets some catered food (in the past, from BiRite, or Haight Street Market), serves free wine and beer, doles out coupons to participants, raffles off some swag, and gives away armfuls of free advanced reader copies of books.
It's sort of like speed dating, but with books.
If you don't want to take our word for it, you can read about Bookswap here, here, here, and most recently, here, where Jane Ganahl describes the bookstore being transformed into a "cozy nightclub atmosphere".
We were going to tell you that some tickets for Friday's swap (which run $25 per person) were still on sale if this sounded like your cup of tea, but then this weekend there was sort of a mad rush for tickets, and now they're sold out. But! Fear not, Booksmith hosts a bookswap every other month. The next one will be on July 6th, and our source, me, tells us that it will be Flashback-themed. Details will be up on Booksmith's website soon.
And of course, we'll make sure to tell you about it.
UPDATE: Booksmith is selling 10 more tickets to Friday's swap. You can stop by the store, or call them at 863-8688.