The classic used bookstore evokes waves of nostalgia; simpler days were filled with the bent pages of formerly loved works of art, evenings were spent holding library books that always had a distinctive smell and an air of excitement, and rainy days were escaped by entering the walls of magical stores that held all of the world’s possibilities. As bookstores become rarer, they also become increasingly unique and more of a destination rather than a happenstance.
A trip to the local bookstore has become a dream for many, as retailers increasingly move out of brick-and-mortar stores, as books turn into white screens of text rather than tangible items, and as less-than-wholesome marketplaces dominate the online book-buying industry. Used bookstores today are hidden treasures, nestled within county libraries or tucked into quirky neighborhoods beside third-wave coffee shops and vintage clothing stores.
While most of the best used bookstores have begun selling a combination of new and used titles, the following stores throughout the state continue to feature wide selections of used books and are celebrated in their area for their unusual character.
These are the Best Used Bookstores to Check Out in California
The Best Used Bookstores in the San Francisco Area
Dog Eared Books
Address: 900 Valencia Street, San Francisco
Dog Eared Books has been the go-to spot for new and used books in S.F. for over 25 years. This independent bookstore is located on the bustling corner of 20th and Valencia in San Francisco’s Mission District, with a second location in the Castro District.
Dog Eared Books features a wide variety of works but specializes in offbeat books, local literature, and small-press releases. This bookstore also offers trade-ins and a bargain bin—and even has a free neighborhood book box outside. Between the eclectic spread of books, magazines, notebooks, and art, you are sure to find something interesting at Dog Eared Books, hence why it earns a spot as one of the best used bookstores in the Golden State.