History

Adobe Books opened in 1989, in the Mission district of San Francisco. Andrew McKinley was the proprietor for 23 years, during which time the store became a bohemian nexus for a large rotating cast of artists, musicians, writers, readers, thinkers, and whoever was looking for some old comfortable couches and a place to chill out. With an open heart and open door, Andrew played host over the years to an innumerable number of memorable evenings.

In 2001 the former back storage room was transformed in to a dedicated gallery space, becoming the Adobe Books Backroom Gallery. This vision was lead by Amanda Eicher, with the help of many people long the way. The new gallery lent it’s humble walls to a series of artists, providing an intimate space to see work. Adobe was one of the institutions which give support to the Mission School artists.

In 2012, with San Francisco gearing up for the second dot-com boom, the beloved 16th street shop faced an untenable rent hike and a changing neighborhood. A group of Adobe regulars came together and formed a cooperative structure. Through many late nights, a new shop was imagined that would be able to survive a new era. A fund raising campaign eased our move over to 24th street, where we would join a small number of existing independent bookstores adding to an informal bookstore row.

Now in our sixth year on 24th street, and approaching of 30th year in business, we’re very thankful to have our doors open and for all the artists who grace our space. A solid crew of volunteers keep us moving forward, all orchestrated by our talented manager, Josephine Villegas Torio. In 2018 we were able to host 159 public events, free of charge to the artists, musicians, poets, writers, and thinkers! Stop by and say hello, we’d love to see your face.

 
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Adobe Books founder, Andrew McKinley, being interviewed in his book warehouse for 2016's documentary 'Water Under The Bridge’ by Katie Wheeler-Dubin and Mila Puccini.

Behind the scenes of an early co-op meeting.

 

Get involved

We have three tracks for people who are looking to get involved.

Shop volunteer

Established in 2013, the Adobe Books & Arts Cooperative is a Volunteer Worker Owned Cooperative. We're like work club for people interested in projects that have a cultural impact. Take your interest and apply it to our effort.

Join the co-op

We're looking for volunteers who can work their way into becoming full fledged Co-op Members. Their are lots of benefits (store ownership, 20% off purchases, and voting rights) and a handful of responsibilities. We’d love to tell you all about it.

Gallery exhibitions

Ever want to get behind-the-scenes of an art gallery? The Adobe Backroom gallery is currently seeking people who have interest in exhibition installation, artist assistance, social media, and sitting gallery hours.


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Day in the life of a bookstore

Mr. Andrew McKinley, a long-time dedicated patron of the arts, ran the 16th street Adobe Books for 23 years – prior to it’s move to 24th street and the formation of a co-operatively run bookstore. Adobe Books in San Francisco's Mission district has always been a welcome meeting place for artists, writers, musicians, and people of every walk of life.

Chris Cobb’s installation at Adobe Books on 16th street involved sorting the entire shop’s collection of books by their spine color. This made for some very interesting bedfellows. Books who had never been on the same side of the room were now cozying up to each other. The result: breathtaking.

Bay Area Now 7 exhibition partner Adobe Books Backroom Gallery demonstrates how an art space might survive gentrification. Adobe Books Backroom Gallery is an experimental arts space in Adobe Bookshop in San Francisco's Mission District. See more: http://ybca.org/ban7

Artist Kathryn Williamson performing in 2009 at Adobe Book Store on Valencia and 16th in the Mission District of San Francisco.

Excuses For Skipping performing Billie Jean in front of Adobe Books. San Francisco, Pride Weekend, June 2009.

JMR Swan provides his gift solution to humanity. Adobe Books, 2006.