In this post, we’ve compiled a list of the best bookstores in the Bay Area. Read on to learn about them.
Dog-Eared Books, on Valencia Street in San Francisco, CA, has been the local community’s place for off-beat literature since 1992. While they stock new and used titles from all sorts of categories, they specialize in the more unusual topics and small, independently published books. While visiting the shop is essential to seeing their chalkboard murals and funky decorations, they do offer a special order service for pickup or delivery, should you prefer to do your shopping online.
Dog-Eared Books holds author events such as book readings and signings, as well as book clubs meets, but these are rarely advertised online so contacting them or stopping by is the best way to find out when the next one takes place. Contact them for more information about Dog-Eared Books or their sister store, Alley Cat Bookstore and Gallery on 24th street in San Francisco.
If you want to check out one of the oldest independent bookshops in the Bay Area, stop by Green Apple Books on Clement Street in San Francisco. Opened in 1967 by Richard Savoy, Green Apple Books has grown and evolved as San Francisco has grown and evolved. Now spanning over three different locations in San Francisco and containing a large selection of new and used books and music, Green Apple Books is a must visit for any indie bookstore lover.
Because of its long-established history, Green Apple Books always has an event taking place: from book launches and author talks to poetry readings and book clubs, and even local fundraisers and school events. Contact them to find out how you can host your own event at Green Apple Books or drop by some of your own used books to sell or trade.
Local Berkely residents Marion Abbott and Ann Leyhe opened Mrs. Dalloway’s Books in 2004 in the Elmwood District. While Mrs. Dalloway’s Books sells titles from a variety of categories, they are especially known for their fiction, nonfiction, gardening, poetry, and children’s titles. There’s even a children’s book subscription service, encouraging children to love the printed book.
4. Moe’s Books
Opened in Berkeley in 1959 by Moe Moskowitz, Moe’s Books has been heralded through the country as the bookstore for book lovers. With over 200,000 new and used books covering nearly every category a book can be written about, Moe’s Books is a mecca of literary masterpieces and pulp fiction alike.
As well-known as Moe’s Books is, it’s no surprise that Moe’s hosts events with some of the more popular and widely known authors and poets from across the world. Moe’s even has a podcast series of author readings and conversations, should you not be able to attend a live event. Contact them to see how you can bring in your own books to trade or sell for Moe’s well-known favorable prices.
Located in the Lake Merritt neighborhood of Oakland, Walden Pond Books opened in 1973 to provide the local community with a place to find their next favorite escape. Walden Pond Books has a large and extremely varied selection of new and used books from almost every category imaginable: from genre fiction to underrepresented authors to lifestyle and hobby books. You can find almost anything at Walden Pond Books. And if you can’t, you can always special order it from them.
Walden Pond Books also hosts classic bookstore events, such as author talks and new release parties. Contact them to see how you can stop by to check out their collection and maybe sell your own books while you’re there!
Opened in 2011 in Oakland, Owl & Company Books prides itself on being a truly ‘independent’ and ‘alternative’ bookshop, providing local book lovers with a variety of popular new and used books, as well as rare and unusual book titles.
Owl & Company also hosts events such as author talks and book signings, as well as political and local fundraising events. They are especially known for their events celebrating women’s literature and authors. Contact them via social media to see how you can stop by or participate.
Recycle Bookstore has been a San Jose staple since 1967; although, it’s location and owners have not been very stable since then. Owned by Eric and Cynthia Johnson since 1998, Recycle Bookstore has grown to have two locations in San Jose: one on the Alameda and the other in the Campbell district. In both locations, the mission remains the same: to provide San Jose with a place for book lovers to buy, sell, or trade their books, regardless of topic, genre, or style.
The dream child of four friends—Jan Gottlieb, Valerie Lewis, Georgia Osborne, and Vicki Villarreal, Hicklebee’s has been promoting children’s literacy in the San Jose area since 1979. Hicklebee’s does more than just sell children’s books, though. They also encourage local children’s authors through author consignment and host book-related awards and councils in shop.
Even the events at Hicklebee’s foster a love of reading as they host a variety of book clubs, book launches and signings, and even popular literary-themed parties. Contact Hicklebee’s via the information at the bottom of their webpage to see how you can stop by and immerse yourself, once again, in that childlike love of reading.
9. Bell’s Books
One of the oldest independent bookshops in the area, Bell’s Books was opened in Palo Alto in 1935 by Herbert Bell, a Los Angeles native who wanted to open a bookshop for Stanford students to buy their class materials. Over the past century, Bell’s has evolved to be the bookstore where multiple generations of family members go to find their next book on lifestyle, hobbies, history, or fiction, among many other categories.
Bell’s prides itself on its large selection of secondhand books (over 150,000 titles alone), and you might even find a rare or signed first edition perusing their shelves. Contact Bell’s Books to find out whether they have that one book you’ve been searching for!
Opened in 1993, Towne Center Books is a local independent store located in Pleasanton, a suburb in Alameda County, CA. Towne Center Books contains a vast selection of new and used books, with a specialty in popular fiction, mystery, self-help, and children’s titles.
Towne Center Books really is the town’s center for events such as local author book launches, book signings, and a few local monthly book clubs. Contact them to find out how you can check them out in person and online or even join one of their book clubs!l