Letter from Madeleine Saussotte on the closing of Ocean Books

NOTE from @barryparr : I asked Madeleine Saussotte to participate in Coastsider Forum, but she’s occupied, unfortunately, with closing her store. She asked me to share this letter with our readers.

After almost 20 years, I’m having to close down my bookstore, Ocean Books.

I doubt this should come as any big surprise to those who’ve been attuned to who and what’s taken over our Book Culture, if you could call it that anymore.

So I’m simply following in the steps of Bay Book Co. which closed in July.

You finally “get the message”: what you’re selling is no longer of much importance to people you once served – and I could no longer make a living at it. In fact, during the last 5-6 years, all I was doing was using most of my savings to meet my expenses. I finally saw the light, just hope it was in time to save me.

I tried selling the store in May, June, and July – but had no serious takers. So I immediately began selling the books at discount prices, put a 10 column-inch ad in the Review that will appear for the next six issues starting today until the week before we close our doors ~ Thursday October 22 will be our last day.

We will live through one last Pumpkin Festival, after which Ocean Books is over. By that time our discounts will be at 50%, and we’ll have 250,000 visitors in town. If you like a real steal-of-a-bargain, come in before the weekend of October 17th & 18th.

Our discounts are at the 20% off level right now; plastic payments (credit & debit) get 10% less of a discount throughout. So when we reach 30% off with cash by midweek next week (9/16), plastic gets 20% off … and on thru til the point it reaches 50% off the week before Pumpkin Festival, and the few days after.

Sorry, but we can’t hold books for you, nor make refunds.

Bring grocery bags for volume buying. Bring cash for larger discounts. Bring your reader-friends and let your reading circle/book group know.

Many thanks to all of you who graced our store, bought our books, helped launch SALT READER, patiently endured the Cunha fire & widening of 92 & episodic Devil Slide wash-outs, and through it all kept mentally and spiritually engaged through reading and meeting new people while trolling our aisles.

All of us who’ve worked here through our 19 years – Bill G, Sarah P, Ronda Q, Ali O, Barbara K, Paolo C, Ann Marie H, Ander M, Jim P, Shannon B, Robyn G, Kyle C, Gabriel C, Elli Z, Robert S, and Max M – left their imprint on so much about the store, all of them reaffirmed the value of reading good books, and solidified connections made here.

We miss and thank them, as we’ll miss and do thank you for supporting us.


Madeleine Saussotte

I’m really sorry to hear that we’re losing one of my favorite used bookstores. What sets Ocean Books apart from all the used bookstores I’ve spent time in is Madeleine’s well-curated and cared-for inventory.

It’s also one of the few remaining business on Main Street that is as appealing to locals as it is to tourists.

BTW, the Review published an article when Madeleine put the store up for sale:


Madeleine and Ocean Books have been a important voice in our community. I hate to see it go but, in her interest, I hope it sells soon so that she is free to go on with her life. She deserves special praise for the energy and money she put into the Salt Reader, which for a short while (alas!) was an artistic and literary credit to Coastside artists and writers. As a poet, I was proud to be included!

Thank you, Madeleine!

Suzanne Black

Ocean Books was a part of the mosaic of Half Moon Bay, which we will miss greatly. I browsed through there often with my kids, enjoying the exploration and the inspiration that came from so many good writers and good books. I’m sorry you have to close the store Madeleine, but you can find some solace that you’ve done a wonderful service.

Jack McCarthy
Moss Beach

Sorry to see Ocean Books go. Thank you, Madeleine, for the reading and writing community you cultivated. I, too, am proud to have been included in the early days of SALT and treasure the issue I still have.

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