Once upon a time, one of us at LOCALMOTIV worked in the building right next door to Wolfman Books. Okay, it was me.
Indeed, I watched them build out their special project and launch in 2014. All the while, my coworkers and I pondered how they would survive in the age of the ubiquitous ecommerce behemoth. Not to mention that it was such a tiny space in an off-the-beaten path location on 13th Street. Yes, it was a mystery for us Gen X cynics.
Once they opened, things became much clearer. And I spent some breaks in this intimate refuge for indie artists, emerging writers, and other counterculture thinkers. It was a welcome respite from my marketing job that required me to convince people to buy things they didn’t need or shouldn’t have. Hmmm. Maybe it’s meant to be a hideaway.
But I can’t keep this cool street-level-yet-underground shop a secret any longer. Surely there are others who would love to escape their mainstream lives for a while and dive into some rebellious thinking. Yes, we can peruse the shelves of general interest books, indie press titles, and their very own magazine New Life Quarterly. And, we’ll happily listen to the music of the pages turning as other customers browse the selection. Indeed, this is authentic Oakland complete with its energetic indie feel.
Yes, this is what Oakland is meant to be.
Then flash forward to 2050. We’ll all be reading about that little book store, Wolfman Books, on 13th Street in Oakland. As it turns out, during that time in the 2010s and 2020s, it was an epic engine for alternative thought and big ideas that shaped the art and literature scene for generations to come.
The funny thing is that no ecommerce behemoth, with literally all the money in the world, could compete with this special place.
And we will all say — in our-try-not-to-brag tones — “Yeah… I used to go there.”
More About Wolfman Books
What they offer: Lots of events, arts space, general interest books, hard-to-find publications. A celebration of emerging artists and writers. Cosy.
Address: 410 13th St Oakland, CA 94612
Phone: (510) 679-4650
Neighborhood: Downtown Oakland