Pasadena’s Newest Independent Bookstore to Open in February

Published on Jan 10, 2023

A new independent bookstore will be opening in Pasadena soon, named after Pasadena native and science-fiction author Octavia Butler. Butler was one of the first to feature people of color in sci-fi novels.

The owner, Nikki High, is coming from a background in communications. She was Customer Communications Director at Trader Joe’s for 15 years. High has also lived in Pasadena for over 45 years.

“I love this city,” High said. “It was a natural choice.”

On its newly minted website, the new bookstore is called Octavia’s Bookshelf, which the site said is opening in February at 1361 North Hill Ave.

“My bookstore is a nod to Octavia Butler,” High said.

Octavia Estelle Butler was a multiple recipient of the Hugo and Nebula awards. In 1995, Butler became the first science-fiction writer to receive a MacArthur Fellowship. Butler was raised by her widowed mother.

Nikki High launched a GoFundMe page in September to raise funds to be able to open the new bookstore. As of Tuesday morning, the page, at has raised $14,073 out of a $20,000 goal.

“As an early reader, books not only provided me with new worlds to discover but also allowed me to escape to places unknown,” High writes on the page. “I am now working to create a space where readers of all walks of life can enjoy these books, a space to find your new BFF inside a book, a space to find community, enjoy a cup of coffee, read, relax, find unique and specially curated products from artisans from around the world and in our neighborhood.”

Her LinkedIn page shows Nikki High as having obtained a bachelor’s degree in Organizational Leadership from Azusa Pacific University and started working for Trader Joe’s in January 2008.

High said Octavia’s Bookshelf is unique because it will offer books and other items by BIPOC authors and makers.

“There are such rich stories being told and OB makes it easy for readers of all ages and backgrounds to find those books,” she said. “I am also looking forward to hosting book clubs, story hours, and author events.”

In LAist report, High said she also plans to offer coffee and a curated selection of products “from artisans around the world and in our neighborhood.”

“I also like to think that we all have an Octavia in our lives – someone who is before their time, a wordsmith,” High said in the article.

She plans to open in mid-February. To sign up for High’s newsletter, visit

For more information, call (626) 392-4068 or email

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