Bookstores in the San Francisco Bay Area (San Francisco and north)
Sun 26 Aug 2001
Mission (and Noe Valley)
North of San Francisco
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 http://www.att.com/tollfree/international/dialguide/ 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.]
(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
Black Oak Books (540 Broadway, 94133 415-986,3872,
http://www.blackoakbooks.com). 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,
email@example.com). Large general used bookstore,
with good inventory and a helpful staff.
City Lights (261 Broadway and Columbus, 415-362-8193,
http://www.citylights.com). The best place for general
literature. Famous beat era shop. Go downstairs.
Eastwind Books (1435 Stockton, 415-772-5888). Eastern thought,
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.
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, http://www.jeffreythomas.com/,
firstname.lastname@example.org ). Open Mon-Fri 9AM-5PM.
Thomas A. Goldwasser Rare Books (49 Geary, Suite 244, 94108-5705,
415-981-4100, http://www.goldwasserbooks.com/). 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,
http://www.booksinc.net). 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, http://www.staceys.com).
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
Borders Books and Music (400 Post St at the corner of Powell on
Union Square, 415-399-1633, http://www.borders.com). 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."
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,
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
Kayo Books (814 Post, 94109, 415-749-0554, email@example.com,
http://www.sf.com/~kayo). 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
A Clean Well-Lighted Place For Books at Opera Plaza (610 Van Ness
Ave between Golden Gate and Turk, 415-441-6670,
http://www.bookstore.com). 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,
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,
firstname.lastname@example.org). 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.
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.
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,
The Booksmith (1644 Haight between Clayton and Cole, 800-493-7323,
415-863-8688, FAX 415-863-2540, email@example.com,
http://www.booksmith.com). 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).
Borderlands Books (866 Valencia, 888-893-4008,
http://www.borderlands-books.com). New and used SF.
You need the hyphen in the URL, or you get a completely
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
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
http://www.chinabooks.com) . Does mail order.
San Francisco Mystery Bookstore (4175 24th between Diamond and
Castro, Noe Valley, 415-282-7444,
http://www.mysterynet.com/sfmybooks). "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."
Phoenix Books & Records (3850 24th at Vicksburg--Noe Valley,
415-821-3477). Good general used books store. Has some
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).
Meyer Boswell Books, Inc. (2141 Mission between 17th and 18th,
third floor, 415-255-6400, FAX 415-255-6499,
firstname.lastname@example.org, http://www.meyerbos.com). "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.
Bolerium Books (2141 Mission between 17th and 18th, third floor,
http://www.bolerium.com). 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).
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,
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,
http://www.blackoakbooks.com). "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,
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.
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."
Book Passage (51 Tamal Vista Blvd, 415-927-0960,
http://www.bookpassage.com). 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.
Books (10 Locust, 415-389-6612). Small, friendly, interesting
The Depot (87Throckmorton Ave, 94941, 415-383-2665,
http://www.depotbookstore.com). New books. Open daily
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.
Booksmith, Inc. (615 San Anselmo Ave, 94960, 415-459-7323,
email@example.com, http://www.ebooksmith.com). New and used.
Heldford Book Gallery (310 San Anselmo Avenue, 415-456-8194,
GALLERY@aol.com) 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, http://www.historyofscience.com/).
"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,
http://www.paperships.com). 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
Copperfields (140 Kentucky 94952, 707-762-0563). Chain based in
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,
http://www.gallerybooks.com). Adult and children's books
in one store with two large rooms. Has an out-of-print search
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
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, firstname.lastname@example.org). Used books.
For more used bookstores, you might check http://www.abaa-booknet. com/ or
Sonia Sachs (ssachs@moonlight. berkeley.edu) reports on the availability of
BROWSING THE BEST WEST COAST USED BOOK STORES: A SELECT GUIDE:
I have discovered a new and very thoughtful California travel
guide called BROWSING THE BEST WEST COAST USED BOOK STORES,
[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
email@example.com,, or check their web page at http://bookhunterpress.com/.
And there is also ANTIQUARIAN, SPECIALTY, AND USED BOOK SELLERS
DIRECTORY 1997-98, covering 5,261 dealers in 863 pages. For more
information, send E-mail request firstname.lastname@example.org, or check their web page
at http://www. auldbooks.com/biblio/asubs.
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.
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.
This FAQ is not to be reproduced for commercial use unless the party
reproducing the FAQ agrees to the following:
1) They will contact the FAQ maintainer to obtain the latest version for
2) They will provide the FAQ maintainer with information on what collection
the copy of the FAQ is in, and how that collection may be obtained.
3) They will agree, in writing, that the FAQ will be included in the
collection without modification, and that acknowledgements of
contributors (if any) to the FAQ remain in the FAQ.
4) They will agree, in writing, that the collection including the FAQ will
be distributed on either a non-profit basis, or have some percentage of
profit donated to a non-profit literacy program. Project Gutenberg
To support this, this FAQ is Compilation Copyright 2001 by Evelyn C. Leeper
(the FAQ maintainer).
You are visitor number since 1 Jan 2000.
Evelyn C. Leeper
Evelyn C. Leeper ( email@example.com)
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