Local business

How do you know it’s New Year’s Day without a calendar?

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Pegasus Books on Shattuck is jammed for its New Year’s Day calendar sale. Photo: Ted Friedman

For over 30 years, a slightly eccentric Berkeley tradition has been building: flocking to Pegasus Books on Shattuck or Solano to buy a calendar on New Year’s Day. Calendars are $3.99 or three for $10 (the sale continues until the stock runs out, but “the best ones” go on day one). Pegasus dubs it “the earth’s biggest calendar sale,” but whether that’s true or not, there’s ample evidence that Berkeleyans like physical calendars even in an era when most have calendars on their smartphone and computer. 

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Precious calendars in hand, sale aficionados patiently wait in line at the Solano store. Photo: Ted Friedman

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  • Chris J

    Love the coverage of this event–while I only stumble on this event by chance, Pegasus is one of my favorite bookstores and I wish it many, many more happy new year calendar sales!

  • DisGuested

    Sadly, it seems that independent bookstores can now only eke out a twilight existence as glorified greeting card stores. Pegasus has always had a thin book inventory, but remains in business thanks to these sorts of antics, to which an old-school bookseller would never stoop.

  • Marcus72

    A new year, another naysayer. I shop at Pegasus all year round and the space they dedicate to cards and merchandise is small and unobtrusive. What they do have is a fantastic selection of new and used books, helpful staff (who pay top dollar foe my books!), and great music and general ambiance. Amazing that somebody would complain about an independent business staying afloat and holding a yearly sale which the community loves.

  • KC

    Half Price Books? No. Just no. What I like about Pegasus (and even better, Moe’s) is how well curated the collection is, unlike HPB which is full of junk (like Waldenbooks from bygone days). Even Barnes & Noble is preferable to HPB. But how dare I express my opinion? I’ve only known the Berkeley book scene for eighteen years.

  • LesSnark

    Over a whole decade??? Wow! A real old-timer.Try six decades or so – then get back to us. We love the Pegasus calendar sale and we’re often there shopping for books. Imagine.So go work on a positive attitude for the New Year.

  • DisGuested

    My kitchen table regularly has a random collection of antiquarian material that is better “curated” than anything I have ever seen at Pegasus, but it’s great that they can stay in business catering to your niche. To mine they are irrelevant, which is something that departed stores like Serendipity never were.

  • Pegasusian

    Hi there, I work at Pegasus and we’ve been having the calendar sale for something like 35 years (and our 45th anniversary is this year). How old-school do you want?? That was ignorant and unnecessarily insulting of you.

  • DisGuested

    By “old school” I would mean a bookstore that sells books in depth. Serendipity and Black Oak come to mind. I don’t really see that it matters how long you have operated as a stationery store.

  • DisGuested

    There was clearly a business cycle transition back at the beginning of the 2000s, with the last remnant of the older bookstores largely biting the dust. Glad you enjoy cheap calendars, but that is really irrelevant to whether Berkeley’s current bookstore scene is anything like it was formerly, or is any great shakes on its own.

  • James Parrish
  • guest

    Before the year 2000, did you love Berkeley and always talk about how wonderful it was?

    If so, I will believe that you are responding to a change in Berkeley.

    If not, I will believe that the problem is your own bitterness – which has obviously taken much more than a decade to develop.

  • DisGuested

    I said that IMHO Pegasus was inferior to Half-Price Books (where, by the way, I have picked up books from the 18th century). I did not say that Half-Price was the best bookstore in the East Bay. The last time I shopped at Pegasus was Monday 12/30.

  • David D.

    Calendar shopping makes for a nice New Year’s Day tradition. I picked up a couple calendars at the downtown location, which is less chaotic than the Solano location, and snapped this photo while I was there.

  • KC

    Your kitchen table, WOW! I had no idea that the mark of a good bookstore is having a couple of 18th century books in stock! There are plenty of those antiquated books to be found, by the way, at the Friends of the Library bookstore for under three dollars. Sorry, I just find it laughable that you brought up HPB because their entire schtick is selling junk like Zen Garden In a Box, Learn the Banjo In a Box, a plethora of ugly stationery, and Get Fit And Lean with 365 Recipes and More! Pegasus isn’t my favorite bookstore by a stretch, but the fact that you compared it to HPB tickles my funny bone. Moe’s and Shakespeare & Co, yes. HPB, no. And Black Oak Books still exists but at a new location: 2618 San Pablo Ave.

  • Dang, man

    Maybe that’s where our tastes in books and shops diverge. For someone like me who has a taste for idiosyncratic but much more contemporary stuff Pegasus is a straight up treasure trove. Lit, history, theory, art – BOOM. I think, sir, that you and I can still be cranky about wanting a bunch of books in our bookstores and, for that matter, a lot of book in our books. Pegasus still has the good stuff if your looking for some sweet books – maybe less so if you’re looking for illuminated scrolls. I can dig that we all have our thing but there’s no need to harsh everybody’s mellow.

  • serkes

    We can only ponder what it would be like had Gray’s, Co-op Books, King or Cody’s stooped.

    Ira

    Black Oak, William Stout, Half Price, Escapist and Builders Booksource (multiple times) in the past few weeks … and yes, also Amazon.

  • Robert ANderson

    Shakespeare & Co. is better than half price books

  • lisa

    Yes for Moe’s!!

  • lisa

    There was a lot at Serendipity, but the owner was so unpleasant I never went back after the first awe-struck visit…