Special Feature: Products Sally Recommends

Used Bookstores in San Francisco

by Cyndy Ainsworth

There's at least one good used bookstore in every neighborhood in the city, and sometimes two or three. Note that some of these stores also have new books mixed in with the used ones.

One of my favorite used bookstores is Acorn Books (740 Polk St. at Ellis, 415/ 563-1736). They have a good selection of books and old magazines, including a number of first editions, their stock is well organized and displayed, and their staff is very knowledgeable. One of the oldest used bookstores in the city is McDonald's Books (48 Turk St. near Mason, 415/673-2235) near the Powell and Market BART Station. Billing itself as "a dirty poorly-lit place for books," McDonald's is the epitome of the cluttered disorganized bookstore where you can lose yourself for hours.

I also like Sunset Bookstore (2161 Irving St. near 23rd Ave., 415/664-3644) out in the Sunset District, which sells used audio books and sheet music and new (not used) calendars in addition to their used books. Green Apple Books and the Writer's Bookstore both have good selections of used books in addition to their new books. Abandoned Planet Bookstore (518 Valencia St. near 16th, 415/861-4695) in the Mission District has a homey feel, with two nice store cats, some comfy loveseats, and what's probably the only bookstore piano in the city. The Mission is also home to Forest Books, (3080 16th St. at Valencia, 415/863-2755) which has some new books in addition to an excellent selection of used volumes, and Dog Eared Books, (1173 Valencia St. , 415/282-1901) which has tapes, CDs, and comics in addition to books. Other used bookstores worth exploring include Phoenix Books and Records (3859 24th St., 415/821-3477) and Carroll's Books (1193 Church St. at 24th, 415/647-3020), both in Noe Valley, Albatross Books (143 Clement St. Between 2nd and 3rd Aves., 415/752-8611) in the Richmond, Forever After Books (1475 Haight St. near Ashbury, 415/431-8299) out in the Haight, Aardvark Books (227 Church St. at Market, 415/552-6733) in the Upper Market area, Books Etc. (538 Castro St. between 18th and 19th, 415/ 621-6831) in the Castro, the Russian Hill Bookstore (2234 Polk St. between Vallejo and Green, 415/929-0997), Aaben Books (1546 California St. between Larkin and Polk, 415/563-3525), Ninth Avenue Books (1348 Ninth Ave. at Irving, 415/665-2938) in the Sunset, and Book Bay (Building C, Fort Mason, 415/ 771-1076), a used book store at Fort Mason run by the Friends of the San Francisco Public Library.

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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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