Things to know when visiting SF Independent Bookstores


San Francisco is a worthy place where highly competitive independent small bookstores are not only fighting to survive, but also growing thanks to book loving people who read books not for pleasure, but for knowledge. The SF Bay area is full of book readers with an affinity to local independent bookstores, which make it one of the best markets for books in the country.


It is obvious that book lovers always want to expand their personal collection of books with the help of good independent bookstores. Fortunately, for the SF book lovers, the Bay area is an ideal literary place filled with great reads, good company, and a fun spirit of independence. Therefore, a visit to San Francisco Independent bookstores to immerse yourself in them may seem equivalent to visiting a glacier before it melts.


The reputation, which has given rise to the expansion of small, independent bookstores in SF, makes it very easy for a visitor to explore the city’s literary base. However, the center of attention has changed over the years — starting from the old Barbary Coast to North Beach to the Haight Street years later. Today the hub is Mission Street.


San Francisco is home to great independent bookstores. Here are some bookstores, all well worth the mention:


  • City Lights, 261 Columbus Avenue; (415) 362-8193
  • The Booksmith, 1644 Haight Street; (415) 863-8688
  • Dog Eared Books, 900 Valencia Street; (415) 282-1901
  • Green Apple, 506 Clement Street; (415) 387-2272;
  • Borderlands, 866 Valencia Street; (415) 824-8203
  • Valhalla, 2141 Mission Street, Suite 202, (415) 863-9250
  • Omnivore Books, 3885a César Chavez Street, (415) 282-4712


Valencia Street is an amazing place for book lovers to begin. An array of shops—Borderlands, a bookstore famous for science fiction books—and Modern Times, another bookstore collective—as well as the Dog Eared Books, famous for used books and French books—are surrounded by bars and cafes that host frequent literary events.


Outside Dog Eared Books, you will notice the shop windows are filled with loads of beautiful sketches. Inside the bookstore, you can see a laid-back area with worn, great interiors with high ceilings and room to explore all used titles.


The San Francisco Bay area is the kind of neighborhood where you can spot an author reading one evening and notice him at a cafe or restaurant the following day. Since the growth of online booksellers and big chains, independent bookstores are under considerable financial threat and many have shut down due to their inability to keep up the competition. In San Francisco, they still stand tall as a symbol of perseverance and strength.


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