Special Feature: Products Sally Recommends

San Francisco Bookstores

by Cyndy Ainsworth

I'm a fan of Stacey's, (581 Market St. between First and Second, 415/421-4687; 219 University Ave. near Emerson, Palo Alto, 650/326-0681; and 19625 Stevens Creek Blvd. near Vallco Shopping Center, Palo Alto, 408/253-7521). The first floor has a broad selection of general interest books, while the lower level has what's probably the best selection of computer, technical, business and medical books in the city. Stacey's has branches in Palo Alto and Cupertino in addition to the downtown store.

City Lights (261 Columbus Ave. near Broadway, 415/362-8193) is perhaps the city's most famous bookstore. Owned by poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti, the store was a hangout for the members of the Beat Generation in the 50's and 60's, with many Beat poets giving readings there. Ferlinghetti is still the owner, and City Lights is still a good bookstore, especially for poetry, contemporary literature, politics, sociology, and philosophy.

The Books Inc. shops are also good general purpose bookstores. In addition to a decent selection of regular books, they have lots of publishers' close-outs and remaindered books at bargain prices. There are two Books Inc. stores in San Francisco (in Laurel Heights, and in the Castro) plus stores in several other northern California cities. They also have two locations at the San Francisco Airport that come in handy when you forget to bring something to read on your flight.
3515 California St. between Laurel and Spruce, San Francisco, 415/221-3666
2275 Market St. between Sanchez and Noe, San Francisco, 415/864-6777
Stanford Shopping Center, Palo Alto, 415/321-0600
Town and Country Village, Sunnyvale, 408/730-5650
Town and Country Village, San Jose, 408/243-6262

Other good general bookstores include the Alexander Book Company (50 Second St. between Market and Mission, 415/ 495-2992) in the Financial District just around the corner from Stacey's, The Booksmith (1644 Haight St. between Clayton and Cole, 415/ 863-8688) in the Haight, Cover to Cover (3910 24th St. between Sanchez and Noe, 415/282-8080) in Noe Valley, Bernal Books (401 Cortland Ave. at Bennington, 415/ 550-0293) in Bernal Heights, Green Apple Books (506 Clement St. at Sixth, 415/387-2272) in the Richmond, Browser Books (2195 Fillmore St. near Sacramento, 415/567-8027), Solar Light Books (2068 Union St. between Buchanan and Webster, 415/567-6082) on Union Street, and the Writer's Bookstore (2848 Webster near Union, 415/921-2620) just off Union Street.

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Note: This information was accurate when it was published. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the businesses in question before making your plans.

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