In a time of increasing competition from mega-chains and online retailers, many local businesses are fighting for survival. Through the tumultuous story of two beloved Bay Area booksellers, Cody's and Kepler's, PAPERBACK DREAMS captures the David and Goliath struggle faced by countless independents around the country. PAPERBACK DREAMS open in the heyday of the independent bookseller, when the availability of great works in affordable paperbacks sets the stage for bookstores to become vibrant meeting places for intellectual growth and activism. Figures such as Salman Rushdie, Joan Baez and Ralph Nader appear in the film to recount the vital role these stores played in various social causes throughout the years. The film then shifts to present day, where independent stores now have to content with chains such as Borders, websites such as Amazon, and the many big box stores that sell books as "loss leaders". In this challenging climate, owners and patrons make a very moving case for the resounding relevance and importance of independent bookstores. Andy Ross, owner of Cody's, likes the feeling of purchasing the well-known bookstore to purchasing Yosemite National Park. Clark Kepler finds out just how much his store means to customers. And book lovers everywhere are reminded the role of independents in bringing new ideas to readers remains as essential as ever.