Home Bookselling 12 Bay Area Bookstores We Love

12 Bay Area Bookstores We Love

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From quirky in-store events and downloadable Zoom backgrounds to a curated fictional delivery service and Mergatroid, the apple-and-book-front mascot, this legendary store oozes fantasy. Customers wandering Green Apple’s maze of new and used books will also find CDs and LPs, and even the occasional couple getting engaged. Another location exists near Golden Gate Park. San Francisco

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CITY LIGHTS BOOKSHOPS AND PUBLISHERS

Seventy years ago, poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti co-founded City Lights Booksellers, the country’s first all-pocket bookstore. Its publishing arm brought Allen Ginsberg Howl and other poems to readers in 1956, putting the Beats on the map. Locals and pilgrims alike still flock to the historic flat-iron building to nestle in the iconic poetry room and read rebellious works, old and new. San Francisco

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MEDICINE FOR NIGHTMARES BOOKSHOP AND GALLERY

In November, a trio of veterans from City Lights, Dog Eared Books and Nomadic Press took over this Mission neighborhood storefront to create a “Cure for Colonial Nightmares.” The light-drenched bookstore and gallery focus Black, Indigenous, and POC voices and favor playful labels like “The kind of music your Abuelita would get mad at you for listening to.” San Francisco

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ISOTOPE: THE COMIC FAIR

In the crazy bay area of ​​comic books, Isotope stands out. The shop features pop art style red and white leather sofas and a display of picture toilet seats. Located in the Hayes Valley building where disco legend Sylvester used to host his parties, Isotope offers new comics, graphic novels, hand-bound mini-comics and events. San Francisco

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Omnivore Books feeds a food-obsessed Bay Area audience. In the bright, cozy, culinary-themed space, owner Celia Sack delivers vintage, old-world, and modern food and drink titles, including local and international voiceovers. Chefs, home cooks and foodies can enjoy a healthy menu of signature events. San Francisco

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Beneath the distinctive red and white canopy and photos immortalizing legendary radical and co-founder Moe Moskowitz, customers are now greeted by daughter and current owner Doris. Moe’s Books, called “one of America’s finest” by the New York Timesoffers 200,000 new and used titles, including rare books in a room on the fourth floor. Berkeley

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Anchor of a black business collective, this one-room bookstore features a well-curated reading room with armchairs, black art, and vintage vinyl. The small team that runs the Oakland Collective brings black literature to the people by throwing book giveaways; create partnerships with schools, hospitals and farmers’ markets; and organizing Read Drink Chill events with its on-site chef and mixologist. Oakland

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In 1851, Bavarian immigrant Anton Roman used his gold rush riches to fund a business selling and publishing books. Although it lost a location to the 1906 earthquake and is no longer in the publishing game, Books Inc. remains the oldest independent bookseller in the West. In addition to its popular Palo Alto location, Books Inc. has nine other stores in the Bay Area and offers community services such as Queer Teen Book Club and Bilingual Storytime. Palo Alto

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For 46 years, readers, writers and even former US presidents have made Book Passage a literary destination in North Bay. The spacious layout of the Corte Madera boutique houses local, national and international titles as well as gift items, a café and meeting space. With 800 annual events and writer’s courses, like its Travel Writers & Photographers and Mystery Writers conferences, Book Passage is perhaps “the most vibrant bookstore in the Bay Area.” Discover its second outpost, located in the Ferry Building in San Francisco. Corte Madera

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KEPLER BOOKS AND JOURNALS

Founded by peace activist Roy Kepler, this Silicon Valley bookstore was a hub for counterculture figures like Joan Baez and the Grateful Dead. Kepler’s legacy as a leader of the paperback revolution of the 1950s and 1960s was kept alive with literary events and programs providing books to underserved local schools. Menlo Park

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Community loyalty matters at this 30-year-old bookstore. Co-founder
Andy Weinberger’s Gem of Wine Country spotlights fiction, cookbooks,
children’s books and readings by local authors like Ada Limón, his first employee at 15. Sonoma

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Traveling to West Marin means hiking, good food, and a visit to Point Reyes Books. Stephen Sparks and his wife Molly Parent, owners since 2017, honor the store’s environmental heritage while offering poetry, fiction and readings, including virtual ones. Point Reyes Station

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