The Other Change of Hobbit
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A Science Fiction & Fantasy Bookstore
|Area served||San Francisco Bay Area
The Other Change of Hobbit (sometimes abbreviated TOCOH) is a science fiction and fantasy bookstore in Berkeley, California, founded in 1977, the same weekend that Star Wars opened. It has been the site of numerous author appearances. The founding partners were science fiction fans Dave Nee, Debbie Notkin and Tom Whitmore. The store is named after the Hobbits from J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings.
The three partners had formed The Portable Bookstore in 1974 to sell books to members of the science fiction fan organization named after the fictional Elves, Leprechauns, Gnomes, and Little Men's Chowder & Marching Society. As they sold books at Westercon in 1976, Sherry Gottlieb, founder of A Change of Hobbit (then in Westwood, later in Santa Monica, California), suggested that they open a store in Berkeley. The store opened in a parking garage off Telegraph Avenue in May 1977, the same weekend that Star Wars opened in theatres. The store moved to Downtown Berkeley in 1993. The Shattuck Avenue store, operated from April 1993 to April 2010, was in a three story building built around 1905. The second floor, known to the staff as Shelob's lair, was the store office. The main street level was the bookstore and Nee's toy collection. Downstairs in the basement storage were thousands more books. The store window displayed Poul Anderson's typewriter and desk, donated by his wife, Karen Kruse Anderson, after Poul's death in 2001. For several years, the window also held Whitmore's Hugo Award for co-chairing Worldcon in 2001.
In April 2010 the store relocated to a large, single-story building on Adeline Street.
In 2013, the store relocated again, this time to a site on Kearney Street in El Cerrito, CA.
TOCOH's website is one of the earliest science fiction/fantasy websites in existence, having come online in January 1995. The store database has over 20,000 titles.
The store has hosted hundreds of author appearances. Authors who have read, signed books, and spoken at TOCOH include Neil Gaiman, Tanya Huff, Clive Barker, Terry Pratchett, Roger Zelazny, Anne McCaffrey, Harlan Ellison, C. J. Cherryh, Jane Fancher, Katherine Kurtz, Larry Niven, Jerry Pournelle, Joe Haldeman, Poul and Karen Anderson, Gordon Dickson, Octavia Butler, Thomas M. Disch, Michael Bishop, Greg Bear, Gregory Benford, David Brin, Joanna Russ, Marion Zimmer Bradley, Madeleine L'Engle, artists Leo and Diane Dillon, Vonda N. McIntyre, Jane Yolen, musician/author Greg Kihn, Cecelia Holland, Kim Stanley Robinson, Pat Murphy, Sean Stewart, Cory Doctorow, David Weber, Terri Windling, Laurell K. Hamilton, and John Varley. Peter S. Beagle has provided the store with special materials, towards fundraising for the store. The store has a large collection of author signatures from over the years of appearances. Author appearances in 2010-2011 included Seanan McGuire, Clare Bell, Anne Harris, Richard Kadrey, Chelsea Quinn Yarbro, Claude Lalumière, Cecelia Holland, and Brian and Wendy Froud.