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Paperback Dreams

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Paperback Dreams chronicles the rise and fall of the independent bookstore. Born in the heady times of the paperback revolution, Cody's and Kepler's became literary landmarks and helped shape the counterculture of the 1960s. In their efforts to protect free speech and celebrate intellectual inquiry, the owners of these stores were harassed, vandalized, and threatened, for simply selling books. Cody's was the first store in America to be bombed for selling Salman Rushdie's The Satanic Verses. Unbowed, the staff refused to pull the book from the shelves.

Now the ground beneath their feet is shifting. Economic pressures have booksellers in a vice, but poor bookstore finances don't reflect the importance of these stores in their communities. Independent stores function as literary laboratories, and publishers rely on them to champion new and controversial work. At a time when the internet allows anyone to publish whatever idea they have as almost fast as they have it, the act of selling a book -- the portable, physical, low-tech product that has defined intellectual rigor for over 500 years -- remains a revolutionary. Paperback Dreams documents the struggle of these stores to survive, and demonstrates that their role in bringing new ideas to readers remains as essential as ever.

[Original air date: Sun, Nov 16, 2008]

This program is not currently scheduled for broadcast.

Filmmaker Profiles:

Alex Beckstead

Read more about Alex Beckstead, filmmaker of Paperback Dreams.


Paperback Dreams: Crew & Credits

Alex Beckstead

Gail Huddleson

Directors of Photography
Clark Caldwell
Liam Dalzell
Petr Stepanek

Original Music
Nathan Grover

Associate Producer
Joelle Jaffe

Gabriel Marin

Additional Camera
John Chater
Leonard Levy
Andy Schocken
Mike Seely
Sheila Smith
Stanley Staniski

Online Editor & Colorist
Shirley Gutierrez

Re-recording Mixer
Paul J. Zahnley, CAS
Disher Music and Sound

Visual Effects
Dylan Champagne

Production Assistants
Renata Foucre
Ben Wu

Assistant Editors
Steven Galbraith
Daniel Figueroa

Production Accountant
Nondas Voll

Fiscal Sponsor
Catticus Corporation
Shirley Kessler, Executive Administrator

Post Production Services
Remedy Editorial, San Francisco
Sara Deneweth, Post-Production Supervisor
Scott Compton, Founder & Director

Footage Provided by
Molly Black
Pat Cody
Getty Images
Bill Gonda
Herb Greene
Eric Hegwer
Clark Kepler
Dawn Kepler
Palo Alto Historical Archives
Palo Alto Weekly
Publishers Weekly
Andy Ross
San Francisco Chronicle
San Francisco Examiner
Time Magazine
Trachtenberg Architects
WPA Archive

Special Thanks
Betty Auchard
Joan Baez
Pete Baker
Anne Banta
Mark Becker
Heather Beckstead
Leslie Berkler
Molly Black
Jack Bowen
Thomas R. Burke
Lewis Buzbee
Pat Cody
Copperfield's Books
Douglas Coupland
Bob Cullenbine
Michael Doyle
Firoozeh Dumas
Barry Eisler
Jon Else
Morgan Entrekin
Robby Fahey
Jonathan Gallassi
Zach Geiser
Pam Grange
Green Apple Books
Michael Hoynes
Kevin Hunsaker
Bill Jersey
Arne Johnson
Kiki Kapany
Elaine Katzenberger
Clark Kepler
Dawn Kepler
Mark Kitchell
Fleur Knopperts
Hut Landon
Wendy Levy
Leon Litwack
Nancy Lutzow
Martin Manley
James Marcus
Malcolm Margolin
Peter Mayer
Daniel Mendez
Moe's Books
Tom Montan
Doris Moskowitz
Melissa Mytinger
Ralph Nader
Mark Oliver
Elizabeth Pepin
Aaron Peskin
Marc Porat
Jamie Raab
Erin Rackelman
Keith Raffle
Craig Rixford
Andy Ross
Leslie Rule
Salman Rushdie
Ira Sandperl
George Saunders
Michael Schwarz
Jeff Shurtleff
Mitch Slomiak
Gary Snyder
Johnny Symons
Lalita Tademy
Mark Taylor
Larry Tesler
Sean Wilsey
Lolly Winston
Kenji Yamamoto
Paul Yamazaki
The Staff & Customers of Cody's & Kepler's Books

Funding Provided by
The Corporation for Public Broadcasting
California Council for the Humanities
Skirball Foundation
Pacific Pioneer Fund

Paperback Dreams is a co-production of 4SP Films, the Independent Television Service (ITVS) and KQED Public Television.

This program was produced by 4SP Films which is solely responsible for its content.

© 2007 Alex Beckstead / 4SP Films
All Rights Reserved.

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