Bookstores in the San Francisco Bay Area (Berkeley, Oakland, and East Bay)

 

Last change: 
 2 Oct 2013

============================================================================ 

Berkeley/Oakland 
East Bay 
San Francisco 
   North Beach 
   Chinatown 
   Downtown 
   Civic Center 
   Japantown 
   Lower Haight 
   Upper Haight 
   Mission (and Noe Valley) 
   Castro 
   Richmond 
   West Portal 
   Marina 
   Sunset 
North of San Francisco 
Peninsula 
South Bay 
Central Coast 
Comments 
other geographic areas 

[Note 0:  These lists were started thirty years ago, before search engines, 
Yelp, and so on.  Because those are now available, these listings will 
include only places that are noteworthy, or have substantive descriptions, 
or have been visited by me.  Old "minimalist" listings will remain as long 
as the stores are open, but no new "minimalist" entries will be added.]

[Note 1: This list contains stores in Berkeley, Oakland, and the East Bay.
San Francisco and north Bay listings can be found in the San Francisco
list.
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 
AND STATE.*] 

[Note 4: Area codes change so quickly these days that these may be wrong.] 

[Note 5: My listings for "superstores" are minimal; those are easy to 
find, generally fairly standard, and not worth the time to keep 
updating them.]

============================================================================ 

Berkeley/Oakland: 

Berkeley/Oakland (Berkeley unless otherwise noted): 

Afikomen (3042 Claremont, 510-655-1977, 510-655-3598).  Judaica, including 
	gift items.  Closes before sundown Friday and is closed Saturday.  
Anacapa (Claremont, a couple of doors down from Dark Carnival).  A fairly 
	small antiquarian shop specializing in 19th and 20th century art 
	movements and European literary movements (their pataphysics 
	selection is one of the best in the States).  
Barnes & Noble (Jack London Square, Oakland).
Barnes & Noble (El Cerrito Plaza).  [11/09]
Bibliomania (1816 Telegraph Ave, Oakland, 94612, 510-835 5733).  A very nice 
	used bookstore, among the Bay Area's finest.  Very attractive-- 
	varnished pine shelves, books arranged alphabetically by author 
	within each section, dustjackets protected with mylar sleeves.  
	Fiction, poetry, Californiana, general titles.  
Big Bad Book Sale (2349 Shattuck Ave).  New books greatly reduced, with very 
	little order to the chaos.  
Black Oak Books (San Pablo Avenue and Dwight Way), 510-486-0698, 
	http://www.blackoakbooks.com).  I think you either love it or hate it.  
	One reader says, "They have a good mix of new and used and their 
	used selection includes particularly good mythology/folklore and 
	cookbook sections.  Their women's section is quite good and they 
	have one of the better humor sections I've run across (e.g., 
	that's where I picked up Sally Swain's GREAT HOUSEWIFES OF ART)."  
	But another claims, "Black Oak Books is all shuck and jive.  
	Lots of new Politically Correct stuff up front, but slim pickins 
	for used goods in the back."  "Good selection, but very pricey."  
	Yet another thinks the used selection is not particularly PC 
	and reasonably priced.  Clearly it's one everyone will have to 
	see and judge for themselves.  Moving from their Shattuck 
	Avenue location in summer 2009.  Open 7 days 10AM-10PM.  (Also 
	has a branch in San Francisco.)  
Book Zoo (6395 Telegraph Ave, North Oakland, 510-654-2665, 
	http://bookzoo.net).  Used books.  "Funky little used 
	bookstore [run by] mavericks who don't use a cash register or 
	sell books online and are trusting souls who leave a cart with 
	sale books out overnight with a slot in the door for payment."  
	Stock is often unusual, edgy, and radical.  Occasional author 
	events.  [This is a different store than that of the same name 
	in Berkeley a few years ago, but with the same owners.]  Open 
	Thu-Fri 4PM-10PM. Sat-Sun 10AM-10PM.  [08/08]
Books Inc. (1760 4th, 517-525-7777).  [11/09]
Builder's Booksource (1817 4th, 510-845-6874).  Architecture, construction, 
	landscape architecture, engineering, interior design, etc.  From 
	coffee-table books all the way to the AISC Steel Manual....  Also has 
	a smaller store in San Francisco.  
Cartesian (2445 Dwight Way).  Small, good quality, scholarly.  
Collected Thoughts Bookstore (1816 Euclid Ave, 94709, 510-843-1816).  
	New and used books: poetry, science, literature.  "The proverbial 
	little bookstore.  Funky place about one block from UC Berkeley on 
	the Hearst side of campus.  Great poetry selection."  
Dark Carnival (3086 Claremont, 510-654-READ [510-654-7323]).  "An unbelievably 
	fantastic book store.  Simply the best.  Nirvana.  The volume, 
	quality, thoughtfulness and variety are overwhelming.  Tucked away in 
	every nook are displays of sub-genres which are impossible to pass by.  
	Their table and bookcase of signed books beats many stores entire 
	selections of SF.  I've even had recognizable authors serve me from 
	behind the counter.  The store is too large to browse fully in one 
	visit.  Large collection of hardcovers, including some limited 
	editions.  Large non-fiction section.  Frequent signings, readings and 
	parties.  Many imports.  And much, much more!"  [03/05]  
Dave's Smoke Shop (2444 Durant, 94704, 510-841-7292).  In the indoor shopping 
	passage between Durant and Channing Way just west of Telegraph; same 
	mini-mall as Revolution Books).  The periodical selection in there 
	used to be amazing.  They even had Pravda (untranslated).  However, 
	they have recently changed ownership and the selection has become 
	somewhat smaller.  Whether this is a permanent change is anyone's 
	guess.  
Dharma Publishing Bookstore (2210 Harold Way, 94704, 510-809-1540, 
	http://www.dharmapublishingbookstore.com/).  Meditation, yoga, Buddhist 
	art & culture, etc.; also gift items.  Open Mon-Sat 10AM-6PM.  [10/13]
Diesel, A Bookstore (5433 College Ave, Oakland, 94618, 510-653-9965, 
	http://www.dieselbookstore.com).  New and used general, 
	children's, contemporary fiction, culture studies, "Simply the 
	best.  I used to work with them, and can say from the inside 
	out that they are great booksellers, with a passion for 
	providing the best that an independent bookstore can offer: 
	excellent service, a wide-ranging, intelligent selection, and 
	a groovy atmosphere - a well designed space for browsing, 
	shopping and hanging out with books.  I definitely recommend 
	this book store."   Has branches in Malibu and Brentwood.  Open 
	Mon-Thu 10AM-9PM, Fri-Sat 10AM-10PM, Sun 10AM-6PM.  [06/12]
Half-Price Books (Shattuck & Addison).  "Good used SF selection; they 
	even have used role-playing books, which I have trouble 
	finding elsewhere.  And I'm especially tempted by the heavily 
	discounted brand new books they offer.  Nice people; great 
	bookstore."  [11/09]
Liberty Tree (134 98th Ave in Oakland).  Not just libertarian but also general 
	civil liberties and history books.  
The Library Bookstore (2433 Channing Way, 510-841-5604).  Good bargains and 
	academic titles.  All profits go to support the Berkeley Public 
	Library.  Open Tue-Sat 10AM-4PM.  
The Little Book Shop.  "One of the best neighborhood stores I've encountered, 
	it which lives up to its name but has a good mix of new and used books 
	and excellent customer service."  
Mr. Mopps' Children's Bookshop (1405 Martin Luther King Jr. Way) 
Mrs. Dalloway's Literary & Garden Arts (2904 College Ave, 94705, 510-704-8222, 
	FAX 510-704-8228, http://www.mrsdalloways.com).  New books.  Open 
	Mon-Wed 10AM-7PM, Thu-Sat 10AM-9PM, Sun 12N-6PM.  [11/09]
Moe's (2476 Telegraph between Haste and Dwight, 510-849-2087; 
	http://www.moesbooks.com).  Five floors of mostly used books.  
	Around since 1959, they are one of the largest bookstores 
	of their kind.  (Their old store can be seen briefly in THE 
	GRADUATE).  More Moe's, located on the fourth floor, is an art 
	and antiquarian shop.  One reader writes, "My favorite bookstore 
	and probably the best bookstore on the face of this earth.  Okay, 
	okay, that may be an exaggeration (especially since I haven't 
	been to New York).  However, how many used bookstores do you know 
	that charge 1/2 of the cover price for *all* paperbacks--
	including the old 25- or 35-cent paperbacks!"  Another says, "In 
	agreement with all of your readers, I found this store to be 
	excellent--wide selection, carefully organized and reasonably 
	priced.  The half-price on all paperbacks from any era is a fine, 
	fine deal.  One of the best used bookstores I've ever visited."  
	(Although another reader calls them "very pricey" on hardbacks.)  
	Will ship worldwide.  [06/07] 
North Atlantic Books & Frog, Ltd. Outlet (1435A Fourth, 94710, 510-559-8277 
	ext 17, FAX 510-559-8279, http://www.northatlanticbooks.com).  
	Publisher of alternative medicine, martial arts, and 
	somatics.  Shopworn books are available at up to 75% off list 
	price.  Open Mon-Fri 9AM-5PM.
O'Neil Book Co. (1150 Sixth Street, one block north of Gilman, 510-527-9855).  
	Great selection of remaindered books.
Pegasus Books (1855 Solano, 510-525-6888).  
Pendragon Books (5560 College Avenue, Oakland, 510-652-6259).  Pegasus and 
	Pendragon are owned by the same management.  Both of them stock 
	primarily used books, remaindered books and recent releases.  
Revolution Bookstore (2425 Channing Way).  In a mini-mall between Durant and 
	Channing Way off Telegraph; underneath building on west side of 
	Telegraph--the same mall as Dave's Smoke Shop.  Angry books about 
	politics and human right issues.   Marxist theory, ecology, media 
	criticism.  Large pictures of Marx, Lenin, and Mao on the wall.  
2nd Edition: Gently Read Books (6120 La Salle Ave, Oakland, 94611, 
	510-339-7315).  New and used books.  General stock.  In Montclair 
	Village.  
Shakespeare and Company (2499 Telegraph).  Diverse store.  "They've got a 
	wider selection of SF than Moe's, and they seem to have a knack for 
	aquiring books I've been looking for for years and selling them for 
	far less than I'd pay elsewhere.  On the other hand, many times they 
	will cover over the original price of a book with a black marker (or 
	even scratch it out!), which makes my blood boil.  I think these are 
	both sides of the same coin: they don't know much about collectible 
	books. "
Turtle Island Book Shop (3032 Claremont Ave, 94705, 510-655-3413, 
	FAX 510-655-4238).  Used, out of print, and antiquarian books in 
	literature, poetry, art history, and architecture.  Small section of 
	rare SF titles and some SF pulps from time to time.  Open Tues-Sat 
	10:30AM-6PM.  
University Press Bookstore (across from the intermural athletic 
	center, 2430 Bancroft Way).
Walden Pond (3316 Grand Avenue between Lake Park and Mandana, Oakland.  
	Distinct from Waldenbooks, a used and new bookstore.  They have a 
	particularly good selection of international writers (in translation) 
	and radical literature and magazines.  

East Bay: 

Livermore: 

The Firehouse Bistro & Bookstore (2369 First).  DUE TO OPEN MID-SUMMER 
	2007.  It will sell used and books as well as serve food.  All 
	customer credit accounts from Book Oasis (the previous store 
	at that location) will be honored.  [02/07]

Walnut Creek: 

Bonanza Books.  Used.  "One of the two best used book dealers in Walnut 
	Creek."  
Diablo Books (1831 Ygnacio Valley Rd, 925-943-2400).  Used.  "One of 
	the two best used book dealers in Walnut Creek."  [08/03]  
Easy Going Travel Shop & Bookstore (1617 Locust, 510-947-6660 or 
	800-675-5500, EASYGO1@aol.com).  Specializes in travel books, 
	including guidebooks, travel literature, natural history and 
	field guides, overseas employment, outdoor adventure guides, 
	family travel, gay and lesbian travel, language learning aids, 
	ethnic and cultural awareness guides.  Complete selection of 
	international maps.  Does book searches, has in-store readings 
	and slides shows.  Also supplies luggage and travel accessories.  
Hooked on Books (1956 Tice Valley Blvd, Roosmoor Shopping Center, 
	510-933-1025).  Used bookstore that specializes in mysteries and 
	romance novels as well as having a reasonable SF section.  

Concord: 

Barnes & Noble (near where Willow Pass intersects I-680).
Bay Books (1669 Willow Pass Rd, 94520, 925-671-2245, FAX 925-671-0136, 
	Baybooks2@baybooks2.com; 2415 San Ramon Valley Blvd, San Ramon, 
	94583, 925-855-1524, FAX 925-855-7341, Baybooks@baybooks.net).  
	New, used, and antiquarian books.  Contra Costa's largest used 
	bookstore.  [07/03]  
Berkshire Books (3480 Clayton Rd, Concord, 94519, 925-685-9999, 
	vjz@tavbooks.com ).  General antiquarian.  19th century British and 
	American literature, Dickensiana, books About books; children's serial 
	fiction; Vietnam conflict literature.  
Waypoint (1813 Clement Ave #24, 94501, 510-769-1547, FAX 510-769-1573, 
	info@waypoints.com).  For the nautically inclined.  Books, charts, 
	computer navigation software, computers, GPS and more.  
Wilmot's (123 Central Ave, 94501).

San Leandro: 

Gray Wolf Books (was Roskie and Wallace Bookstore) (14595 E 14th, 
	510-483-4163).  "This is a rather unique used book store.  The prices 
	are quite cheap by Bay Area standards, the collection is huge, though 
	not as organized as some stores.  In fact, it's kind of like a cross 
	between a bookstore and a rummage sale.  It's not usually a place to 
	go looking for something specific, but it's a browser's heaven--you're 
	guaranteed to find something unique, something you'd never even think 
	of, let alone find in another bookstore."   Another person says, "The 
	store is huge, with three connected warehouses of books in tall 
	orange-crate shelves in narrow aisles, with most shelves being stacked 
	two or three layers deep and not in very good order.  Worth visiting 
	if you aren't picky about condition and enjoy rummaging."  Open 
	Mon-Sat 10AM-6PM.  

Fremont: 

Half-Price Books (in the Pacific Commons area of Auto Mall Parkway west 
	of I-880).  Used books.    [03/11]

============================================================================ 

Comments: 

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.  

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 
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 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 
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    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 
    counts.  

To support this, this FAQ is Compilation Copyright 2013 by Evelyn C. Leeper 
(the FAQ maintainer).  

============================================================================= 


Evelyn C. Leeper
Evelyn C. Leeper (eleeper@optonline.net)

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