Debbie's World of Books
My book reviews, book news & random rants

Bookstore Wanderings Through the Bay Area

September 17th, 2009 by Debbie's World of Books


This week I went to check out a used bookstore that I just found out about that is located literally 5 minutes from my house.  After visiting it I realized that I’ve been going to a lot of different book stores lately and they all had their pluses and minuses.  Here is a little tour of where I went and if you live in the Bay Area, California you should go check them out.

Kepler’s Bookstore
1010 El Camino Real
Menlo Park, CA 94025-4349


I’ve heard a lot about this book store but it’s on the other side of the bay so I never made it out to it until the Richelle Mead book signing a few months ago.  This book store was awesome and I loved their YA section.  The book signing itself wasn’t too crowded so we actually got to talk to Richelle for awhile which was really nice.  They also have this great teen blog, The Book Bind.   Check out their list of coming events here.  Some of the authors I’m looking forward to seeing are Scott Westerfeld, Sarah Rees Brennan, Lucienne Diver, Malinda Lo and Courtney Sheinmel.

Books Inc.
855 El Camino Real #74
Palo Alto, CA


I also went to this book store to see Richelle Mead and Lili St. Crow.  This signing was crazy and packed so I did not really get to look around so I can’t say much about the store itself but I must say they throw great author events.  Their store also has their own blog.  Some of their author events I’m looking forward to are Kristin Cashore and PC and Kristin Cast.

316 W. El Camino Real
Sunnyvale, CA 94087


I met up with Pam of, Laura of I’m Booking It and Trish of Hey Lady! Whatcha Readin’ awhile back and after chatting Pam, Laura and I headed over to Borders.  I haven’t been to the Sunnyvale Borders in years and forgot how awesome it is!  Their YA section is pretty large and laid out nicely.  I had a great time browsing through the books and comparing thoughts with Pam and Laura.  I wish I still lived over on that side because this Borders totally kicks butt!  One tidbit of interest is that while I was walking by I saw a bunch of parrots in the palm trees outside of Borders.  A lady passing by told me there is actually a flock of wild parrots that make this plaza their home.  So you can sit outside and watch these birds squawk and fly around.

15 Ranch Drive
Milpitas, CA 95035


I was meeting a friend in the area for dim sum (btw, Milpitas has some awesome dim sum places!) and I was early so I ran over to Borders.  The layout was way different from the Borders I normally go to so it took a little wandering to find the young adult section.  I finally found it all the way in the back in a separate room.  It was kind of strange.  I don’t know if this design was new because there were counters with ripped up wires like computers were taken out or about to be put in.  There were no computers to look up books which was a pain since I was trying to figure out where Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer was and had to go out to the main area to find a working computer.  The YA section seemed a little small but at least they had the book I wanted.

The Book End
5678 Thornton Ave.
Newark, CA, 94560

This bookstore is walking distance from me and I never knew about it until recently.  I finally had a chance to stop by and did pick up two Star Trek books I already read but really enjoyed.  It’s a combination New/Used Books and literally more than half the store seemed to be filled with romance books.  So if you are in the market for used romance books this is the store to check out.  Unfortunately for me their young adult section was minuscule, not even filling up one shelf so I was a little bummed.  The woman working there was so nice that I think it would be a great book store if you really want to develop a relationship with the workers.  I asked her how long they have been there and she said 16 years!  I was stunned.  Newark is a pretty rinky dink little town and this strip mall it’s in is rather run down so I was amazed they managed to stay in business for so long.  Stop by if you are in the area.

Half Priced Books
Pacific Commons

43473 Boscell Rd.
Fremont, CA 94538


If you have been reading my blog for awhile you may have noticed sporadically I go on these book buying binges here.  I love Half Priced Books, especially when they have those 20% off coupons or sales.  I’ll admit I go a little crazy buying books.   Their young adult and romance sections are great.  It’s located right next to Costco which we frequent a lot so I have a lot of opportunities to stop by and scope out anything new in the YA section.  The other great thing is that you can sell your used books and get cash instead of store credit.  They also take everything you bring it.  So no having to lug the rejected books back to your car.  What they can’t sell they donate.  This is definitely a store to check out.

Book Buyer’s Mountain View
317 Castro St.
Mountain View, CA


I used to live in Mountain View years ago and loved going to this used book store.  I often sold my used book there and although they do not give cash they do give store credit.  I recently was back in Mountain View for a street fair that was taking place on Castro Street.  I decided to stop in and was amazed that even like 6 or 7 years later I still had about $5 of store credit left.  So of course I had to buy a book.  This store is pretty large and is one to definitely check out if you are in Mountain View.  Their young adult section is pretty small but I love their romance and sci-fi/fantasy sections.  If you stop by there is plenty of parking behind the store.  I don’t bother with the parallel stalls in the front because traffic is horrible.

Borders-Fremont and Union City
39210 Fremont Hub, Suite 211
Fremont, CA 94538


32111 Union Landing Blvd
Union City, CA 94587


And I can’t finish my book store wanderings without mentioning the two Borders I frequent most often.  These Borders are the ones located closest to me so I will head there first whenever a good Borders coupon comes out.  I will admit I think both stores could do a better job with their YA sections.  Even though they re-did them for the Ink marketing not much seem to change other than the logo on the display tables.  The YA sections seem pretty tucked away and are pretty small.   Sometimes it’s also frustrating because they take awhile to put the new books out.  I remember when I went to get Gone on release day I couldn’t find it and they said they were still packed up in the back.   So I decided to go with my second choice, Generation Dead, and that one was also still packed up in the back.  Talk about frustrating.  Still they are convenient so I will continue to go to them.

So what about your area?  What are you favorite stores?  If you around this area are there any other smaller or independent book stores you recommend checking out?

Posted in Books

5 Responses

  1. L. Diane Wolfe

    Chuckle – no Barnes & Nobles?
    Unfortunately, we don’t have a real bookstore in our little town. (Books A Million doesn’t count.) But there’s a little independent called The Book Depot in a neighboring town that is cozy & cute. And she has a resident cat!
    When I lived in Albuquerque, we were within walking distance of Page One, a most awesome independent store. It was huge – on a level with B&N. They opened another store across the street called Page One, Too, and it was used and discounted books. We always spend a small fortune there!

  2. Melanie

    Wow! You certainly have a lot of Borders. In my area, there isn’t even one. We have a B&N and Books A Million. I like BAM better. It has a really comfortable atmosphere and they just expanded their YA section. I’m currently on the lookout for some Indie stores. I know of a couple, but they are both tiny with not much selection.

  3. dsuzuki

    LOL. We do have a B&N but I am not a big B&N fan. My brother did just give my daughter a B&N gift card so will have to go check it out.

    Melanie-I’ve never been to a BAM before. I’m not sure if we have one around here. Yup, there are a ton of Borders around here.

  4. Laura @ I'm Booking It

    Don’t forget the nice-but-tiny Books Inc next door to Book Buyers. I just wish they had more author events there.

  5. dsuzuki

    Thanks for the mention. You know in all the years I lived in Sunnyvale and Mt. View I never went into that Books Inc even though it’s next to Book Buyers.

Leave a Comment

Please note: Comment moderation is enabled and may delay your comment. There is no need to resubmit your comment.