Borderlands Books

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Borderlands Books
HeadquartersSan Francisco
OwnerAlan Beatts

Borderlands Books is a San Francisco independent bookstore specializing exclusively in science fiction, fantasy and horror.


In 1997 Alan Beatts opened Borderlands in Hayes Valley as a used-only bookstore consisting of his personal collection and a selection of books from Know Knew Books in Palo Alto.[1] In 2001 the store moved to 866 Valencia in the heart of the Mission District where it is currently located.[2] Shortly after opening in the new location, Borderlands Books was awarded the "Best Sign Of De-Gentrification in the Mission" from the SF Bay Guardian.[3]

On February 2, 2015, in an open letter posted on the store's website, the owners Alan Beatts and Jude Feldman, announced they would close the store on March 31, 2015, explaining they could not afford to pay San Francisco's recently enacted $15 minimum wage (a minimum wage that they support).[4] The store later announced a plan to remain open by relying on 300 private sponsors at $100 apiece,[5] and this goal was soon surpassed.[6]

In November of 2017, Borderlands Books purchased 1377 Haight St. in San Francisco from Recycled Records. The bookstore will move to their new permanent home in late 2018. [7]


The store makes appearances at horror and science-fiction conventions,[8] and has hosted numerous events with authors and other genre visitors including Lou Anders,[9] Chris Roberson, John Varley,[10] Jacqueline Carey,[11] John Picacio,[12] Graham Joyce,[13] Patricia McKillip, Paolo Bacigalupi[14] David Drake,[15] Randall Munroe,[16] Steven Erikson,[17] and Cory Doctorow.[18]

Borderlands also hosts the Tachyon Publications anniversary party with the associated Emperor Norton Awards, given for “extraordinary invention and creativity unhindered by the constraints of paltry reason”. The first award is given to a single work of science fiction, fantasy, or horror, or to an author in these genres, and the second to any creation, creator, or service relating to those genres.[19]

Other Information[edit]

In 2008, Borderlands' owner Alan Beatts and general manager Jude Feldman were jointly nominated for a World Fantasy Award under the World Fantasy Special Award: Professional category.[20] In late 2009, Beatts opened Borderlands Cafe adjacent to the bookstore.[21][22]

Borderlands currently has three Sphynx cat mascots named Frost, Hudson, and Newt.[23] The original Sphynx mascot, named Ripley, died in May 2010.[24]


  1. ^ Pickoff-White, Lisa. (April 2, 2008). "Borderlands Helps Make the Bay Area a Sci-Fi Bookstore Haven". SF Weekly. Retrieved December 29, 2011.
  2. ^ About the store: Store history. Retrieved December 29, 2011.
  3. ^ "SHIFT city guide - San Francisco - Borderlands Books". Retrieved October 22, 2011.
  4. ^ "RIP, Borderlands Books - Boing Boing". Retrieved 2015-02-02.
  5. ^ "SF bookstore Borderlands comes up with plan to avoid closure". San Francisco Examiner. Retrieved 2015-02-21.
  6. ^ "Borderlands Books, no longer in danger of closing, has more than 500 sponsors". Bookmarks. Retrieved 2015-06-03.
  7. ^ "Borderlands Books Buys Permanent Home Thanks to Patrons' Sponsorship". 2017-11-01. Retrieved 2018-05-15.
  8. ^ "Genre bookstores fight big chains with passion, expertise". CBC News. Associated Press. October 10, 2006. Retrieved 2012-10-02.
  9. ^ "Lou Anders Interviewed by Rick Kleffel". April 18, 2004. Retrieved on October 22, 2011.
  10. ^ "Varley News Archives".
  11. ^ "Jacqueline Carey's Official Author Site – 2006 News Archive". Retrieved on October 22, 2011.
  12. ^ "Behind the Scenes > Photos > World Horror Convention 2006". 2006. Archived from the original on 2006-06-14.
  13. ^ Borderlands Cafe « MentatJack. October 28, 2009. Retrieved October 22, 2011.
  14. ^ "Book signing Paolo Bacigalupi" Archived July 8, 2011, at the Wayback Machine.. May 2010. Retrieved October 22, 2011.
  15. ^ "Borderlands"
  16. ^ "Borderlands Books First Bookstore in the world stocked with xkcd volume 0" Archived April 25, 2010, at the Wayback Machine.. Breadpig Press Release. September 19, 2009. Retrieved October 22, 2011.
  17. ^ "A book signing with Steven Erikson". Fazal Majid's low intensity weblog. November 12, 2005. Retrieved October 22, 2011.
  18. ^ "Little Brother by Cory Doctorow". pp 17–18. Retrieved October 22, 2011.
  19. ^ "Emperor Norton Award Winners". Locus Magazine. August 31, 2009.
  20. ^ "World Fantasy 2008 Award Recipients & Nominees" Archived December 1, 2010, at the Wayback Machine.. Retrieved October 22, 2011.
  21. ^ Hernandez, Rigoberto (January 1, 2010). "Move Over, Borderlands Opens Its Cafe on Valencia". Mission Local.
  22. ^ Harmanci, Reyhan (September 9, 2010). "The Bay Citizen - Niche Bookstores Provide More Than Books". Bay Citizen (National ed.). The New York Times. Retrieved 2012-10-02.
  23. ^ "List of SF Bookstore Cats". San Francisco Chronicle. August 6, 2010. Retrieved December 29, 2011.[dead link]
  24. ^ McGovern, Bridget (May 18, 2010). "A Fond Farewell to Ripley, the Borderlands Cat". Retrieved October 22, 2011.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 37°45′32″N 122°25′17″W / 37.7590223°N 122.4215054°W / 37.7590223; -122.4215054