Bookstores in the San Francisco Bay Area (San Francisco and north)

Last change: 
Sun 26 Aug 2001


San Francisco 
   North Beach 
   Fisherman's Wharf 
   Civic Center 
   Lower Haight 
   Upper Haight 
   Mission (and Noe Valley) 
   Pacific Heights 
North of San Francisco 
South Bay 
Central Coast 
East Bay 
other geographic areas 

[Note 1: This list contains stores in San Francisco and the North Bay.
Berkeley, Oakland, and East Bay listings can be found in the Berkeley/Oakland
Peninsula listings can be found in the Peninsula list.

Los Angeles listings can be found in the Los Angeles area list.  
San Diego and Hawai`i listings can be found in the San Diego area list.  
Sacramento and other California listings (outside of southern California) 
can be found in the Northwestern US list.  ]

[Note 2: I collected these comments from a variety of people.  I personally 
have no knowledge of many of these places and take no responsibility if you 
buy a book you don't enjoy. :-)   Phone numbers and precise addresses can be 
gotten by calling directory assistance for the appropriate city.  Call ahead 
for precise hours, as even when I list them they are subject to change.] 

[Note 3: If you can add information for any of these, in particular 
addresses when they are missing, please send it to me.  *PLEASE SPECIFY CITY 

[Note 4: If you are outside the United States and need to call a toll-free 
number (800, 888, or 877 prefix) there are two ways to do it.  One is to 
use AT&T Direct (see for 
details).  The other--which I hven't verified--is to substitute different 
prefixes (880 for 800, 881 for 888, and 882 for 877).  In any case, you will 
be charged for these at standard international rates.] 

San Francisco: 

(Thanks to Joseph Brenner, this is arranged geographically, roughly east to 
west, or starting "Downtown" and moving outwards.  If something is grossly 
misplaced, please let me know, but it's difficult to order linearly a 
two-dimensional map!  The streets in the downtown area, running east to west 
are Sansome, Montgomery, Kearney, Grant, Stockton, Powell, Mason, Taylor, 
Jones, Leavenworth, Hyde, Larkin, Polk, and Van Ness.  Running south to 
north are Market, Turk, Eddy, Ellis, O'Farrell, Geary, Post, Sutter, Bush, 
Pine, and California.  Okay, Market is diagonal, but I had to start 

North Beach: 
	Black Oak Books (540 Broadway, 94133 415-986,3872,  Third branch of the Berkeley 
		bookstore.  You apparently either love it or hate it.  Open 
		Sun-Thu 12N-10PM, Fri-Sat, 12N-12M.  
	Carroll's Books (633 Vallejo at Columbus Ave, 94133, 415-397-6364,  Large general used bookstore, 
		with good inventory and a helpful staff.  
	City Lights (261 Broadway and Columbus, 415-362-8193,  The best place for general 
		literature.  Famous beat era shop.  Go downstairs.  
	Eastwind Books (1435 Stockton, 415-772-5888).  Eastern thought, 
		Buddhism, etc.  
	Tower Records (Columbus Ave & Bay, 415-885-0500).  Also has books.  
		Music, of course, but also art, local interest, erotica, 
		etc.  Open 7 days 9AM-12M.  

Fisherman's Wharf: 
	Barnes & Noble (Cost Plus complex near Fisherman's Wharf).  
	Builder's Booksource (Ghiradelli Square, 415-440-5773).  Architecture, 
		construction, landscape architecture, engineering, interior 
		design, etc.  From coffee-table books all the way to the AISC 
		Steel Manual....  Also has a larger store in Berkeley.  
	Maritime Book Store (Hyde Street Pier near Fisherman's Wharf).  A 
		very good selection of new maritime books.  While there, 
		must visit the Balclutha, one of the few remaining 
		square-rigged Cape Horn sailing ships.  

	Louie Bros Book Store (754 Washington near Grant).  Chinese 
		language.  Noted a Lotus 1-2-3 manual in the window.  

	[Yes, there are several bookstores on the second floor of 49 Geary.  
		All of them are fairly antiquarian oriented.] 
	Brick Row Books (49 Geary, Suite 235, 94108-5705, 415-398-0414,,  
	Jeffery Thomas Fine and Rare Books (49 Geary, Suite 230, 94108-5705, 
		415-956-3272, FAX 415-956-2738,, ).  Open Mon-Fri 9AM-5PM.  
	Thomas A. Goldwasser Rare Books (49 Geary, Suite 244, 94108-5705, 
		415-981-4100,  Open 
		Mon-Fri 10AM-5:30PM, Sat by chance or appointment.  
	Thomas A. Goldwasser Rare Books (486 Geary).  Open Mon, Wed-Sat 
	Robert Dagg, Rare Books (49 Geary, 94108-5705, 415-989-6811).  
	John Windle, Antiquarian Bookseller (49 Geary, 94108-5705, 
		415-986-5826).  Open by appointment.  
	871 Fine Arts (49 Geary, Suite 513, 94108-5705).  Art and artists' 
	San Francisco Museum of Modern Art bookstore (151 Third St between 
		Mission and Howard, 415-357-4035).  Its museum store is 
		greatly expanded, and has the best selection of new art and 
		art-related books in SF; also some interesting children's 
	U. S. Government Bookstore (Marathon Plaza, Room 141-S, 303 Second 
		at Folsom, 415-512-2770, FAX 415-512-2776).  
	Books Inc. (160 Folsom at Main, 94105, 415-442-4830,  A super-discounted branch of 
		Books Inc.  Remainders and such.  
	Henry Hollander, Bookseller (55 New Montgomery Street, Suite 317, 
		third floor of the Sharon Building, 415-882-4541,,  
		Specializing in Judaica and books on Africa.  Has a search 
		service.  Open Tue-Fri 12N-5PM.  
	William K. Stout Architectural Books (804 Montgomery, 
		415-391-6757).  This is a beautiful bookstore on all facets 
		of architecture, including furniture.  The books are stored 
		in a seemingly chaotic fashion, but the staff is helpful 
		and knowledgeable.  "Excellent selection, but expensive as 
		architecture books tend to be.  I'd say they are a bit over 
		market price on many items." Closed Sunday, open late 
	Virgin Megastore (2 Stockton at Market, 415-397-4525).  
		General-interest books.  Bigger than neighborhood stores, but 
		smaller than stores like Stacey's or Cody's.  Open Mon-Thu 
		9AM-11PM, Dri-Sat 9AM-12M, Sun 10AM-10PM.  
	Alexander Book Co. (south of Market on Second Street downtown, 
		415-495-2992).  Pleasant to hang out in, and carries a more 
		interesting selection of everything than many larger places.  
		Mon-Fri 8:30AM-6PM, Sat 10AM-5PM.  
	Rand McNally (595 Market near 2nd, 415-777-3131).  Huge selection of 
		maps and travel books.  
	Stacey's (581 Market near 2nd, 415-421-4687,  
		The oldest and the largest independent bookstore in San 
		Francisco.  27,000 square feet store; completely remodeled in 
		1997.  "They have the biggest cookbook selection in the Bay 
		Area, as well as a great mystery and science fiction section."  
		They also host authors most afternoons at 12:30PM.  
		Mon-Fri 8:30AM-7PM, Sat 10AM-7PM, Sun 10AM-6PM.  
	Rizzoli Bookstore (117 Post, 415-984-0225).  Branch of the Italian 
		Chain. Their specialty is art and photography, found on the 
		third floor.
	Borders Books and Music (400 Post St at the corner of Powell on 
		Union Square, 415-399-1633,  Now 
		perhaps the largest book emporium in the Bay Area, Borders 
		has four floors of books and music with over 125,000 book 
		titles, 70,000 music titles, video and CD-Rom in stock.  A 
		lovely cafe overlooks Union Square where customers are free 
		to browse selections.  Very impressive depth and range.  
		Open Mon-Wed 9AM-11PM, Thu-Sat 9AM-12N, Sun 10AM-9PM.  
	Cafe de la Presse (352 Grant).  A branch of European Books.  Mostly 
		a restaurant with a small section of books and magazines.  
	Tillman Place Bookshop (8 Tillman Place off Grant between Post and 
		Sutter, 415-392-4668).  Was previously called Charlotte 
		Newbegin's Bookshop.  Contrary to previous reports, they do 
		*not* specialize in Russian books (can someone help me out 
		on what bookstore the person might have been thinking of?) 
		and does not carry used books.  
	Argonaut Book Shop (786 Sutter at the corner of Jones, 415-474-9067,,
	The Bookstall (570 Sutter btwn Powell and Mason 415-362-6353).  
		Used.  "High-priced antiquarian and used dealer, no bargains 
		here, though a good selection."  Also a reasonable selection 
		of children's and old scientific books.   
	McDonalds (48 Turk, 415-673-2235).  Used.  "You gotta see this place: 
		rickety shelves stacked to the rafters with old books and 
		magazines.  The next quake is going to wipe this place out.  
		In a very seedy area, but you are probably safe during the 
		day."  "Heavily advertised, but greatly overated.  I do not 
		see how they could possibly have over one million 
		books/magazines/records, as they claim, and their material 
		seemed badly disorganized.  In addition, Turk St. is an 
		alarming place to someone not familiar with that area (not 
		someplace to go after dark)."  Another reader says "there 
		may be good stuff in there somewhere, but it's impossible 
		to find it.  ...  They have vast amounts of junk [and the] 
		near-total lack of organization makes it impossible to 
		search quickly even if you know exactly what you're looking 
		for, and browsing is tedious and unrewarding."  Another 
		reader responds: "Contrary to one of the comments you list, 
		McDonald's is rigorously 'organized' but it is not 
		alphabetized, which are two different things.  The books 
		are extremely neatly arranged in about 200 categories, but 
		books within categories are not alphabetized.  Nonetheless, 
		the prices are excellent and you can bargain here.  There 
		is a lot of junk.  Also, the neighborhood is fine during 
		the day, especially if approached from Market rather than 
		from the Tenderloin." One important conclusion: if you are 
		allergic or sensitive to dust, you probably should skip 
		this one.  Mon, Tue, Thu 10AM-6PM, Wed, Fri, 
		Sat 10:30 AM-6:45PM.  
	Foley Books (345 California, Plaza Level, 415-391-0622).  "I've 
		bought quite a few books from Foley Books over the years at 
		its various locations. It is an outstanding bookstore with 
		discount prices!  Although it is smaller than it used to be, 
		you can order books and still get the 20% discount."  
		Mon-Fri 9AM-6PM.  

Civic Center: 
	European Books (925 Larkin, 415-474-0626).  THE place to go for 
		European-language books.  Mostly French, German, and 
		Spanish, but other languages as well.  Mon-Fri 9:30AM-6PM, 
		Sat 9:30AM-5PM.  
	The Magazine (920 Larkin St, 415-441-7737).  A used magazine store.  
		It carries both mainline and pornographic magazines, including 
		physique magazines from the 1950s, and is very classy with its 
		wood paneling.  
	Kayo Books (814 Post, 94109, 415-749-0554,,  Pulp magazines, vintage 
		paperbacks, etc.  "Staffed by two very knowledgeable owners 
		and the friendliest dog west of the Sierras."  "Hours and 
		hours of fascinating browsing."  Also reported to be the only 
		bookstore with any appreciable amount of Westerns.  Open 
		Wed-Sun 11AM-6PM.  
	A Clean Well-Lighted Place For Books at Opera Plaza (610 Van Ness 
		Ave between Golden Gate and Turk, 415-441-6670,  A good general selection of 
		books, and a helpful staff.  "Has one of the most 
		knowledgeable mystery buyers in the business, Lorraine 
		Petty.  Customers should feel comfortable that she won't 
		steer them wrong.  She also hosts, quarterly mystery 
		events in association with Sisters in Crime to which the 
		public is invited." "Only in San Francisco will you find a 
		bookstore where the children's section is next to the 
		lesbian and gay section."  Sun-Thu 10AM-11PM, 
		Fri-Sat 10AM-12M.  
	San Francisco Opera Shop (2nd floor of the War Memorial Opera House, 
		Van Ness at Grove, 415-565-6414).  Open every night an opera 
		is given; features opera-related items which are sometimes 
		hard to find elsewhere.  
	Books & Company (1323 Polk near Bush, 415-441-2929).  [Currently 
		[03/99] closed due to water damage from a fire in the hotel 
		above it.]  "This is a cramped, low-ceilinged place, painted 
		blood-red throughout, with books overflowing every imaginable 
		horizontal surface.  Classical music wafts through the air, 
		as does the faintest aroma of the Bookstore Cat's ... uh ...  
		facilities.  There are oriental rugs on the floor, the better 
		to cushion the fall of all those precariously-perched books, 
		and a rather curmudgeonly appearing proprietor, who becomes an 
		absolute sweetheart with the slightest provocation.  If you 
		peek behind the piles of current titles, you'll find all kinds 
		of used treasures on the shelves.  And new titles are 
		*heavily* discounted--at least 40% off the list price!  Its 
		hours are rather eccentric--something like Wednesday thru 
		Saturday, afternoons only, but don't quote me.  [Sorry, too 
		late!] Anyway, the place is a bibliophile's paradise...."  
	Around the World Books (1346 Polk, 415-474-5568).  *Not* a travel 
		bookstore, but art and children's books, used.  (May be some 
		new books as well; I'm working from the phone book listing.)  
	Acorn Books (1436 Polk between Pine and California, 415-563-1736,  Used.  Everything over $15 is on the 
		computer.  They also have printouts by topic.  "Very large 
		collection of SF paperbacks.  Some hardcover.  Some highly 
		priced collectibles.  A good selection of pulps in average 
		condition (AMAZING, ASTOUNDING, ANALOG, etc.).  There are a 
		few other used book stores in the immediate area, which I 
		would recommend staying away from."  "This has one of the 
		best selctions of out-of-print material I have seen in 
		SF/fantasy."  Mon-Sat 10:30AM-8PM, Sun 12N-7PM.  
	Fields Bookstore (1419 Polk, across from Acorn Books, 415-673-2027).  
		"One of the best esoterica/New Age selections I've seen."  
	Richard Hilkert, Bookseller (333 Hayes, near the Performing Arts 
		Center, 415-863-3339).  Has a large number of books on 
		architecture, as well as a large collection of books, new 
		and used, on design, the arts, collecting, gardening, 
		cooking, travel....  Carries new and used books, and has 
		book signings from time to time.  

	Kinokuniya (shopping center at 1581 Webster, 415-567-7625).  The 
		largest Japanese-language bookstore in San Francisco.  They 
		also have books in English on Japan, translations into 
		English, Japanese language textbooks, many periodicals, etc.  
		They have a branch in San Jose (408-252-1300) and perhaps 
		elsewhere.  Sun-Sat 10:30AM-7PM.  
	Marcus Books (1712 Filmore between Post and Sutter, a few doors down 
		from the Kabuki Theatre complex).  African and Black history 
		and issues since 1960.  

Lower Haight: 
	Naked Eye (533 Haight St near Filmore, 415-864-2985).  Newstand and 
		video rental place.  A weird magazine selection, with some 
		nice touches like "The Skeptical Inquirer" on display next 
		to the UFO magazines.  
	Comix Experience (305 Divisidero, 415-863-9258).  A basic comic book 
		store, with a bit more open space than usual, for live 
		appearences by authors and artists.  
	American Buddhist Bookstore (1710 Octavia, 415-776-7877).  Buddhist 
		books, one assumes.  

Upper Haight: 
	Bound Together, the Anarchist Collective Bookstore (1369 Haight near 
		Masonic, 415-431-8355).  An odd collection of new and used 
		books, plus small press stuff.  It has some strange 
		left-wing anarchist literature, but it also carries quite a 
		bit of other material, which might loosely be classified as 
		"weird": lesbian poets, Tesla Coils, early issues of 
		"REsearch," and so on.  One reader wrote at length of his 
		dissatisfaction, especially concerning the staff, and 
		summarized as, "Rude staff possibly inclined toward petty, 
		knee-jerk self-gratification."  (Someone else comments, 
		"I think the complaint about the rude staff at Bound 
		Together is also pretty funny.  If you were a left-wing 
		anarchist, would you be in a good mood? ") 
	Forever After Books (1475 Haight near Ashbury, 415-431-8299).  
		Small, but with every available space packed with used 
		books.  They carry all of the usual stuff, though in 
		particular I thought they had impressive collections of 
		old DIY/Engineering books and children's books.  One 
		reader says, "Probably 50% or more overpriced on market 
		rate for books, shelves are crammed two layers deep and 
		this makes finding books difficult."  Latest reports are 
		that they have some very unusual policies, like a sign 
		in the window saying you can't take pictures inside, 
		and an unwillingness to let you park your travel mug at 
		the front while you shop. 
	Great Expectations (1520 Haight near Ashbury, 415-863-5515).  Very 
		small place, but a surprisingly good collection of general 
		literature.  Lots of T-shirts and things, largely on 60s 
		nostalgia themes, but there are also hints of the newer, 
		punkier Haight.  
	The Booksmith (1644 Haight between Clayton and Cole, 800-493-7323, 
		415-863-8688, FAX 415-863-2540,,  Has a quirky and always 
		interesting sale table, excellent science fiction and music 
		sections, magazines, poetry, kids books and lots of great 
		fiction--both new releases and backlist.  Lots of counter 
		culture titles.  Has been producing a set of "author trading 
		cards" with a photo on one side and information about his or 
		her current release and Booksmith appearances on the other.  
		Mon-Sat 10AM-9PM, Sun 10AM-6PM.  

Mission (and Noe Valley): 
	Bernal Books (401 Cortland Ave at Bennington, 94110, 415-550-0293).  
		New books.  
	Borderlands Books (866 Valencia, 888-893-4008,  New and used SF.
		You need the hyphen in the URL, or you get a completely 
		different bookstore!  
	Dog Eared Books (900 Valencia at 20th, 415-282-1901).  Medium-sized, 
		general-purpose used bookstore; mostly paperbacks.  
                Open Mon-Sat 11AM-8PM, Sun 12N-6PM.  
	Laissez-Faire Books (Howard Street, 415-541-9780).  Some general 
		philosophy, but strong classical liberal flavor.  
	Lodestar (313 Noe at Market).  
	Limelight Film & Theatre Bookstore (1803 Market, San Francisco CA 
		94103, 415-864-2265).
	Aardvark (237 Church at Market, 415-552-6733).  Used to have 
		separate new and used stores; now the Church Street location 
		carries both new and used books.  
	Forest Books (3080 16th St at Valencia, 415-863-2755).  Largely used 
		books.  Spacious, fluorescently lit place with subdued 
		classical music.  Hours: 11 AM to 9 PM.  
	Abandoned Planet Bookstore (518 Valencia, next door to Valencia 
		Books, 415-626-2924).  Medium-sized selection of used books, 
		mostly paperbacks.  Specializing in arts and literature.  
		They don't have a large selection yet, but they have 
		obviously spent some money to make it look nice.  "Great 
		cushions to lounge in the window corners, often occupied by 
		some very pretty cats.  Definitely a nice place."  Very low 
		prices.  (Was previously The Book Center.)  
	Adobe Book Shop (3166 16th west of Valencia, 415-864-3936).  A 
		used-book store.  "It doesn't look as nice as some of the 
		other stores, but it has a reasonable selection."  
	Modern Times Bookstore (888 Valencia near 20th Street, 415-282-9246; 
		next door to Cafe Beano at 878 Valencia).  A good selection 
		of books along the lines of contemporary urban/liberal 
		thought; lots of political stuff.  "I gather from the name 
		they think of themselves as an alternative to the more 
		backward-looking City Lights bookstore."  "Finally a 
		bookstore that doesn't just have the tracts on Central- 
		American politics, but also books in Spanish."  
        China Books & Periodicals, Inc. (2929 24th, 415-282-2994, FAX 
		415-282-0994,, .  Does mail order.  
	San Francisco Mystery Bookstore (4175 24th between Diamond and 
		Castro, Noe Valley, 415-282-7444,  "Around since 1976.  It's 
		one of the oldest mystery specialty stores and is owned 
		by an icon in the mystery world, Bruce Taylor.  It has 
		mystery reference, new and used, signed collectibles."  
		Wed-Sun 11:30AM-5:30PM.  
	Phoenix Books & Records (3850 24th at Vicksburg--Noe Valley, 
		415-821-3477).  Good general used books store.  Has some 
		nifty chairs.  
	Cover to Cover Booksellers. (24th at Sanchez--Noe Valley, 
		415-282-8080).  Smallish general bookstore.  A neighborhood 
		place.  Lots of kids books.  
	Small Press Traffic Literary Arts Center (3599 24th Street at 
		Guerrero, 415-285-8354).  SPT is a non-profit literary 
		arts center.  Apparently the bookstore is no more, but they 
		still sponsor reading series of new and experimental 
		writers, a multicultural reading series, and writing 
		workshops in poetry and prose.  It's a gathering place for 
		poets and writers.  Tue-Sat 12N-6PM.  
	La Latina (2548 Mission between 21st and 22nd, 415-824-0327).  
		Spanish-language books.  
	Meyer Boswell Books, Inc. (2141 Mission between 17th and 18th, 
		third floor, 415-255-6400, FAX 415-255-6499,,  "The only 
		bookshop in the English-speaking world specializing in 
		antiquarian rare and scholarly law exclusively.  Its stock 
		contains somewhat over 6,000 works."  To search their 
		entire inventory, connect to their Web site or send an 
		e-mail message them with the word "help" in the subject 
		field, and likewise in the message field put the same word.  
		Mon-Fri 9AM-5PM.  
	Bolerium Books (2141 Mission between 17th and 18th, third floor,  Antiquarian.  Specializes in 
		social and radical movements, such as labor, women's rights, 
		gay and lesbian issues, and African-American materials.  
	Tall Stories (2141 Mission between 17th and 18th, third floor).  
		Antiquarian.  Literature, first editions, SF, and mystery 
		fiction.  This shop is a cooperative of about 20 dealers.  
		A few dealers are also on the second floor.  
	La Moderna Poesia (2122 Mission, 415-861-6775).  
		Spanish-language books.  

	Books Inc. (2275 Market, 94114, 415-864-6777,  
	A Different Light (489 Castro Street between 17th & 18th, 
		415-431-0891 or 800-343-4002).  This is a branch of the 
		company that also has bookstores in West Hollywood and New 
		York City.  They have close to 14,000 titles of interest to 
		lesbians, bisexuals and gay men, and occasionally carry a 
		few used books.  They also have a large L/G/B newspaper and 
		magazine section, and sell videos, cards, T-shirts, buttons 
		and other good stuff, and also regularly schedule authors' 
		receptions and readings.  Sun-Thu 10AM-11PM, 
		Fri-Sat 10AM-12M.  

	Green Apple Books (506 Clement and nearby, 415-387-2272).  New and 
		used.  "Remotely situated in the Richmond district under 
		perpetual fog and surrounded by a maelstrom of Russian 
		tearooms, Vietnamese restaurants and greengrocers, the Holy 
		City Zoo, Tevye's, and the greatest Armenian delicatessen--
		Haig's--I've ever smelled."  Go upstairs for used books.  
		There are a few other used bookstores within a block or two 
		of there.  "The place is HUGE, and if it is not the largest 
		used bookstore in the Bay Area, it has to be in the running.  
		The new books section is relatively small, but complete with 
		all the latest releases, often with discounts.  The used 
		section is incredible."  One reader writes, however, "used 
		books are *really* overpriced, and they seem to especially 
		have a problem realizing that the worse condition a book is 
		in, the lower the price should be."  Has two store fronts, 
		one for new and one for used--the second is a few doors down 
		from the first.
	Thidwick Books (first block of Clement Street).   "Extremely 
		enthusiastic, helpful proprietor, interesting selection of 
		new books with a delightful children's section.  She seems to 
		be doing well, too; it's nice to see an independent bookstore 
		owner making good these days."  
	Znanije (5237 Geary, 415-752-7555).  A Russian bookstore.  ("It's 
		down towards Golden Gate park, not towards downtown.  I 
		think the cross street is 16th.") 

	Books Inc. (2251 Chestnut, 94123, 415-931-3633,  
	Solar Lights (Union St, http://www.san-fran. com/solarlight).  "A 
		*very* charming, unassuming, but stacked-to-the-rafters 
		independent bookstore.  The owners *and* their employees 
		could not have been nicer or more helpful when I was there.  
		I believe their business is very good, and it would seem 
		that a move to a larger space would be in the offing at some 
		point in the not-too-distant future.  I have to love a 
		bookstore with a resident cat who is actually friendly, and 
		nice." [This could be in the wrong section of this list.] 
	Charlotte's Web (2278 Union, 415-441-4700).  Children's bookstore.  
		Excellent selection of children's books along with tapes, 
		cards, art supplies and other good stuffcards, that children 
		and parents will enjoy.  The staff is friendly, 
		knowledgeable, and helpful.  Will do special orders for 
		items not in stock.  Special features: monthly talks and 
		presentations by local authors and illustrators, story 
		hours, newsletter, and Joe the Dog.  
	Russian Hill Bookstore (2234 Polk, 415-929-0997).  New (Spring '93) 
		used bookstore, specializing in religion, philosophy, 
		history, art and sports; also general subjects.  Next door 
		to the Gateau Boutique which, though little-known, has some 
		of the best fancy pastries in San Francisco.  

	Ninth Avenue Books (1348 9th Ave between Irving and Judah, 
	Black Oak Books (630 Irving near 8th, 94122, 415-564-0877,  "Branch of the Berkeley 
		bookstore.  Presumably the same political bent as that one, 
		and you'll probably love it or hate it."  Open 7 days 
	Chelsea Book Shop (637 Irving near 8th Ave, 415-566-0507).  One person 
		said, "Mostly used books.  A little bit of everything, but not 
		a lot of anything.  High prices.  A hard place to be 
		enthusiastic about, but it is open late, and it's got a cafe 
		next door."  Another disagrees, "It's a delightful place to 
		browse in, a place where you find what you didn't even know 
		you wanted.  Its smart and quirky selection is well organized 
		and priced reasonably."  Open Sun-Thu 11AM-10PM, 
		Fri-Sat 11AM-11PM.  
	Comics & Comix (650 Irving and 700 Lombard).  More entries in the 
		chain (smaller than Palo Alto's).  
	Books New & Used (345 Judah at 9th Ave).  "Discount Medical, 
		Technical & Professional."  Hours around 9 AM-6 PM, closed 
	Elsewhere (260 Judah and 8th Avenue, 415-661-2535).  SF and 
		mysteries.  "An excellent collection of collectibles.  A 
		less than average selection of regular, used SF.  Prices are 
		fairly high, but I always have been able to find a rare 
		book, in fine condition, that I haven't been to find 
		elsewhere."  One person said it seems to be open only about 
		10 hours a week; another said it is open until 8 on 
		Wednesdays; yet another says Wednesday through Sunday 12-4.  

Pacific Heights: 
	Books Inc. (3515 California, 94118, 415-221-3666,  

North of San Francisco: 

	Armchair Sailor Bookstore (42 Caledonia, 415-332-7505 or 
		800-332-3347).  This is a specialty bookstore for maritime 
		books, mostly for sailboats.  New and used books.  Selection 
		is good, with travel books, cruise guides, boat design 
		books, and novels.  Videos can be rented ($3/day), including 
		by mail.  Charts are available.  Imported yachting 
		magazines.  Mon-Sat 9AM-6PM, Sun 12N-5PM.  
	Overland Books (Caledonia St)  Used books.  "Nice place--small, but 
		they have a great fiction section with some fun rare and out 
		of print stuff.  Sometimes the LitCrit section is pretty 
		good too.  Nice section in the back for children's books."  

Corte Madera: 
	Book Passage (51 Tamal Vista Blvd, 415-927-0960,  Over 9000 sq. ft. of books, 
		including a 3200-sq.ft. section devoted to mystery and SF 
		and a rare and used book department.  "Book Passage's great 
		strength is its travel section.  It was the only place in 
		the Bay Area where I was able to locate a guide to freighter 
		travel."  The store also carries titles in French, Spanish, 
		and German, and has a cafe in the back.  In an attempt to 
		fill the gap left by cutbacks in the California library 
		system, they have a (pay) lending library of books, 
		audiocassettes, and travel videocassettes.  They also now 
		have "Book Passage University," a series of writing and 
		language classes.  In the 3 May 1997 issue of PUBLISHERS 
		WEEKLY (page 44), they were named "Bookseller of the Year."  
	Dan F. Webb Books (1535 San Pablo, 510-444-4572).  Mostly military 
		and aviation titles, some general stock.  Be sure to haggle 
		over the prices.  Tue, Thu, Sat 11AM-4PM.  

Mill Valley: 
	Books (10 Locust, 415-389-6612).  Small, friendly, interesting 
	The Depot (87Throckmorton Ave, 94941, 415-383-2665,  New books.  Open daily 

San Rafael: 
	Borders Books & Music (588 Francisco Blvd, West San Rafael, 
	Lifeways Books & Gifts (Lootens Place).  New Age and occult.  
	Mandrake Bookshop (910 Lincoln Ave., 415-453-3484).  *The* used 
		bookstore in Marin County.  A large selection of quality 
		books.  The owner, Hal Bertram, is worth chatting up--has 
		some additional goodies in the back room.  Excellent prices.  
		"I would say that Mandrake is my favorite San Rafael 
		bookstore, good for finding obscure older books at very 
		reasonable prices."  Just two blocks from the bus plaza.  
	Odyssey Bookshop (1109 Fourth, 415-453-8701).  "It expanded to a 
		second storefront a while ago.  It's a used bookstore with a 
		nice selection, and bargains can sometimes be found, though 
		prices in general are slightly higher than the other 
		bookstores in San Rafael, though probably more reasonable 
		than Green Apple."  
	Open Secret (C Street, 415-457-4191).  Mainly eastern religion.  
	West Wind Books (1006 Tamalpais Ave., 415-456-6322).  Used books.  
		A wonderful little bookshop with an excellent 
		general-purpose stock.  Fine nautical section.  Charming 
		proprietress.  Good prices.  

	BookBeat (28 Bolinas Rd, near Sir Francis Drake Rd and San Anselmo, 
		94930, 415-256-9060).  Mostly used and some new books and CDs, 
		with a cafe.  Open Sun-Thu 7AM-10PM, Fr-Sa 7AM-11PM.  

San Anselmo: 
	Booksmith, Inc. (615 San Anselmo Ave, 94960, 415-459-7323,,  New and used.  
	Heldford Book Gallery (310 San Anselmo Avenue, 415-456-8194,  Mostly out-of-print and rare.  
		"Delightful little pillowed alcove at the narrow end for 
		perusing (building narrows between two converging streets).  
		I only looked at the one case of children's books, which 
		were high-priced collectibles."  
        Jeremy Norman & Co, Books (POB 2566, 94979-2566, 800-544-9359 or 
		415-456-6507, FAX 415-456-6511,  
		"Manuscripts & Prints from the 15th through the 20th centuries 
		in the History of Science & Medicine, Technology, Natural 
		History, Economics" (By appointment until the new building is 
	Michael Good (35 San Anselmo Avenue, 415-459-6092).  Second floor 
		over doctor's office.  Out-of-print and rare.  "This place 
		resembles what I supposed rare bookstores would be like, 
		before I had ever visited any.  Creaky floors, a feeling of 
		time and of Rembrandtian brownness, and a proprietor 
		frequently engrossed in his merchandise."  
	Oliver's (645 San Anselmo Ave, 415-454-4421).  Largest of the three 
		places.  "I wasn't there long enough to get the flavor of 
		it.  I know they carry used and rare, but didn't even bother 
		to notice if they carry new."  
	Paper Ships (630 San Anselmo Ave, 94960, 415-457-3799,  Books, crystals, etc.  

(All of these places are on the same street.  By bus, take Golden Gate 
Transit route 20 or 23 to San Anselmo.  At the bus stop, go down the 
little stairway between the two bus shelters, and you are on the 
high-numbered end of the street.)  

	Copperfields (1303 First Street 94559, 707-252-8002).  Chain based 
		in Santa Rosa.  
	Volume One Used Books (1405 Second Ave, 707-252-1466).  Small used 
		bookstore.  "Aside from a small offering of collectibles, 
		what is most on display is paperbacks.  There's a nice 
		espresso cafe across the street.  A possible stop for those 
		otherwise exploring the wine country."  Another reader 
		reports that they have a very nice selection of children's 
		used books.  

	Copperfields (140 Kentucky 94952, 707-762-0563).  Chain based in 
		Santa Rosa.  
	Discoveries (627 E Washington, 707-778-3898).  A mixture of used 
		books and new and used CDs and vinyl LPs.  They didn't 
		seem to have a general fiction section, but there was a 
		fairly decent SF section, and a small room of children's 
		books.  Kind of a small place.  Accessibility: a step up, 
		but otherwise mostly accessible.  
	Reade Moore Books (1 4th, 707-762-2215).  Used bookstore, with 
		decent stock, a mixture of some older stuff and more recent 
		stuff.  There's a decent comic store a couple doors down.  
		Accessibility: there's a fairly big step up at the front 
		door.  The aisles are quite wide.  There's a small balcony, 
		which is where the history and travel writings sections are.  

	Chanticleer Books (526 Broadway, 707-996-5364).  A used book store 
		with some antiquarian stuff.  "This 'bouquiniste' had a good 
		selection in most categories, with reasonable prices, and we 
		went away, happy, with some books."  A step up, and 
		otherwise mostly accessible.  
	Plaza Books (40 West Spain, 707-996-8474).  More of the Antiquarian 
		(as opposed to "used") variety.  Worth the visit, just in 
		case that treasure you were looking for is hiding there.  
		"The stock is definitely on the antiquarian side, and 
		bargains were not to be found."  Not very accessible, 
		because of narrow aisles, and tables placed in front of 

	Gallery Bookshop & Bookwinkle's Children's Books, Inc.  (PO Box 270, 
		Main & Kasten, 95460, 707-937-2665 (707-937-BOOK) or 
		707-937-2215, FAX 707-937-3737, amiksak@gallerybooks. com,  Adult and children's books 
		in one store with two large rooms.  Has an out-of-print search 
Santa Rosa: 
	Barnes and Noble (across the street from Copperfields).  "Typical of 
		them to locate near already existing bookstores."  
	Books Inc. (in the Coddingtown Mall).  "They have a *huge* 
		collection of books, no used books, and the best selection 
		of SF books of anybody in the area."  
	Claire Light (Clairelight?) Books.  Women's books.  
	Copperfields (650 4th St, 707-545-5326).  Flagship store of the 
		chain.  About half books and half CDs.  "Copperfields was a 
		close second after Treehorn, so Santa Rosa should probably 
		be the main goal of someone making a day trip from San 
		Francisco."  There's a balcony, which is where the film and 
		music books are, but it's otherwise accessible.  
	L & L Books (530 McConnell Ave off Mendocino Ave, 707-579-5554).  
		Used books, and also some college textbooks for the nearby 
		Junior College.  
	Sawyer's News (733 4th).  Newstand.  Has a better selection of 
		magazines than Barnes and Noble.  
	Treehorn Books (625 4th, 95404, 707-525-1782).  Probably the besta 
		store in the area, a large bookstore with mostly used stock, 
		with some remainders and new books.  Reasonable prices, with 
		some antiquarian stock, but mostly older and recent used 
		books.  "Excellent selection of used books with a good 
		history section with some pretty good prices on a lot of 
		them, too).  Most of the books are in excellent shape.  They 
		don't have a very good selection of new books, but that's 
		not their main business.  The staff is real friendly and 
		helpful, and they have books that collectors would be 
		interested in ...  had a small cache of collectible Philip 
		K. Dick books, for instance, they have a real nice selection 
		of used SF books.  Accessibility is fine, though you may 
		have to navigate around some ladders.  
	Twice Told Books (14045 Armstrong Woods Rd, Guerneville 95446, 
		707-869-1479,  Used books.  



For more used bookstores, you might check http://www.abaa-booknet. com/ or  

Sonia Sachs (ssachs@moonlight. reports on the availability of 
	I have discovered a new and very thoughtful California travel 
	[subtitled A Series of Guides to The Foremost General Stock 
	Used and Out-of-Print Establishments in Los Angeles, Berkeley, 
	Seattle, San Francisco, San Diego, Portland, Sacramento & 
	Orange County].  This terrific little guide -- which is 
	actually a series of eight separate folio guides -- was 
	probably intended for visiting scholars and other bibliophiles, 
	but it will likely appeal to local residents as well because it 
	offers fresh views of well-known places.  Four cities are 
	featured in the first series of guides -- Los Angeles, San 
	Francisco, Berkeley, and Seattle.  A second series of four 
	guides -- due out later this year -- tours San Diego, Orange 
	County, Sacramento, and Portland, Oregon.  Each guide begins 
	with introductory essays that expound, quite eloquently and at 
	some length, on the value of out-of-print bookstore browsing.  
	Readers are then offered tips on how to browse out-of-print 
	bookstores and simultaneously avoid big price tags.  Would-be 
	hobbyists are shown how to develop and advance book 
	collections.  Novice bibliophiles are given a glossary of terms 
	to explain different classifications of books -- rare, used, 
	out-of-print, first edition, etc.  This is not just an ode to 
	bookstores.  It is an ode to books.  The travel aspect is the 
	guides' most exciting feature.  Each guide contains an 
	insightful city essay and ten descriptive bookstore narratives 
	that go a long way toward situating the reader in the town he 
	or she is visiting.  And who hasn't been looking for a new way 
	to explore a faraway city?  Individually, these guides form a 
	strong argument that bookstore touring is the best way to learn 
	the physical and intellectual contours of any town.  Taken 
	together, the guides are nothing less than a grand tour of 
	literary landmarks all along America's Pacific Coast.  Maps, of 
	course, are included.  The author of these guides is a West 
	Coast native and long-time bibliophile who is not affiliated 
	with any bookstore or bookstore association.  Consequently, and 
	happily so, the narrative point-of-view is that of a bookbuyer 
	rather than a bookseller.  In terms of style, each guide is 
	often as humorous as it is telling, and the author does not shy 
	away from pointed comments.  "The Los Angeles metropolitan area 
	is surprisingly good used book store territory," begins the 
	city essay for the Los Angeles guide.  "Admittedly, there is a 
	glut of shops that tend to feature first editions of Eddie 
	Fisher's autobiography, but sequestered between all these 
	hackneyed enterprises are some very reputable bookstores."  The 
	guides, which read like booklets with a map as centerpiece, 
	sell for $6.00 each.  For more information, write Browsing The 
	Best Publications, Box 7263, Berkeley, California 94707-0263, 

There is also the NORTHERN CALIFORNIA BOOK FINDER, a pocket-sized 
directory of "used bookshops in northern Calfornia from San Luis Obispo 
County to the Oregon Border."  (Stores that carry both used and new are 
also listed.)  Arranged geographically, it has address, phone, hours 
and a brief description for each store.  (Some stores have ads with 
more details, but it includes listings for all the used bookstores.)  
There are also maps showing bookstore locations for most of the larger 
towns, an index of towns, and an index of ads.  The ninth edition 
(1995) is probably available at bookstores in the area (for $5.95), or 
you can order it from Jules Greenblatt, 4021 Campana Drive, Palo Alto 
CA 94306 for $8.95 (including postage and handling).  

There are also Book Hunter Press's USED BOOK LOVER'S GUIDE TO [various 
regions], seven regional guides to over 7,900 used, out-of-print, and 
antiquarian book dealers in the United States and Canada.  The complete 
database is online and can be searched by location, dealer name, specialty, 
and type of dealer. Access to the database is available on a two tier basis: 
partial access is free, full access is by subscription.The web page also 
includes free access to regional and city maps showing locations with used 
bookstores. For more information or a free catalog, send E-mail request to,, or check their web page at  

DIRECTORY 1997-98, covering 5,261 dealers in 863 pages.  For more 
information, send E-mail request, or check their web page 
at http://www.  

Anecdote from a reader (circa 1995): 

"Had an interesting experience last night:  I was having dinner at a 
friend's house when he asked me if I had access to internet.  This was 
curious, indeed, as he is probably the most neo-Luddite younger person I 
know, resistant to computer technology to the point of keeping business 
records on scraps of paper beneath found paperweights and doing business 
correspondence via penciled letters.  

It turns out that the reason for this sudden interest is that someone 
came into his store [which shall remain nameless here] in San Francisco, 
and made a stunning $50.00 purchase on the basis of some recommended 
bookstore list that you produced and posted on rec.arts.books.  A captain 
of industry he's not, so fifty big ones made about as big an impression 
on him as a major bus wreck ("Don't mention the money," he says of this 
message, "it sounds so crass.").  Suddenly, this computer thing had 
reality to him.  He produced a scrap of paper with your net address on 
it and requested that I thank you.  

I just thought you might get as big a giggle out of this as I did."  

Of all the messages people have sent me over the years, this one is 
still my favorite.  

Copyright Notice 

Information contained in this FAQ is compiled from many sources.  The 
compiler accepts no responsibility for the comments contained herein.  
The comments are provided "as is" with no warranty, express or implied, 
for the information provided within them.  

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 2) They will provide the FAQ maintainer with information on what collection 
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To support this, this FAQ is Compilation Copyright 2001 by Evelyn C. Leeper 
(the FAQ maintainer).  


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