Run For Cover Bookstore Is Still in Business – Virtually

by on March 4, 2021 · 2 comments

in Ocean Beach

Run For Cover home office today.

By Bob Edwards

It was a sad time last July when Run For Cover bookstore closed its doors on Voltaire Street after almost two years of serving the reading population of Ocean Beach and greater San Diego.

With revenues down 60% due to the pandemic and overhead costs remaining the same, it was just not sustainable to maintain the storefront, according to Peninsula resident and owner Marianne Reiner. Book lovers mourned the loss of OB’s only independent source for new books (other than the intriguing but limited selection of mostly counterculture and graphic books at the Black).

So, it was great when the OB Rag received an email from local resident Elizabeth Burke reminding us that Run For Cover is still in business and serving San Diego’s readers even though they no longer have a brick and mortar presence. Elizabeth suggested we contact Marianne Reiner and get the scoop on what is still going on with Run For Cover.

This reporter spoke with Marianne last weekend. She had a lot to say about how she has adapted to the new ways of doing business in 2021.

“I loved what I was doing,” said Marianne. “I had built a shop that served a group of people who realized the value of a local, independent business.” She really enjoyed the opportunity to meet authors and readers and to present programs that brought them together and did not want to lose that feeling.

“I decided to become a virtual book seller,” she said, “though I like to call myself a ‘book concierge’. I’m still in OB and have been very busy providing books to people.”

Marianne explained that she has continued to serve people who used to patronize the physical store, but Run For Cover has also been gaining new customers who never shopped there. Through a combination of accepting orders on line, outreach to teachers and community groups, and the occasional pop up bookstore event, Run For Cover has continued to provide access to books for people who want to buy from a local and independent business instead of from giant online vendors or corporate outlets.

The easiest way to order books from the business is to go to their web page and make an inquiry by clicking on the Book Request tab. Marianne said she is happy to make personal recommendations and assist readers with options available to them regarding a specific book or general area of interest. You can also sign up on the web page to be on a monthly mailing list that will announce book readings and discussions on Zoom, and pop-up book sale events. Run For Cover had good turnouts for three pop-ups in November and December of 2020 that carefully observed safety precautions and distancing.

Run For Cover storefront on Voltaire in the pre-pandemic days. From OB Rag.

One of the most intriguing ideas Marianne has implemented is an “Adopt A Reader” program where donors can contribute to provide a school child with one free book a month for the school year. At the end of the year, each child has a small personal library of his or her own books and hopefully has developed a greater taste for reading. So far 24 kids have been receiving books through “Adopt A Reader”. Marianne hopes to expand the program to other students whose families are unable to afford books saying, “I want to fill their hearts with the love of reading and a shelf of books that is their own. All thanks to our customers”.

All photos courtesy of Marianne Reiner, Run For Cover bookstore, unless otherwise noted.

Marianne also has plans to create a podcast to connect readers and authors. She said, “I like to hear authors speak of their works and who they are reading” and she wants to share that with others.

Though patrons can order online, Marianne makes a clear distinction between Run For Cover and one of the behemoth sellers.

“I never wanted to compete with Amazon. I have a longer view and vision of serving community. The store sponsors a local little league team, for example. My goal has always been to have a partnership with the community.”

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Laura Dennison March 4, 2021 at 9:00 pm

Marianne Reiner’s Run for Cover book store continues to serve the OB community well virtually, as she did when the store was open. She can get any book for you, and has great suggestions. The newsletter she sends out is filled with really good reading ideas! We are so lucky to have you, Marianne, as part of our wonderful community.


Frank Gormlie March 5, 2021 at 9:26 am

This post is an example of how the OB Rag “works”; a reader sends us some info and one of our citizen journalists looks into it – and presto! something important that not that many knew about has been broadcast to the village – and beyond.


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