small bookstore shopping in san francisco, ca

A few weeks ago, I read an article in the New York Times that made me unexplainably sad. It was describing the dire situation small bookstores were currently in due to the pandemic, and the help they needed to stay afloat. And if you couldn’t tell by now, I am an avid reading and an even more avid book shopper. With big retailers and the absolute giant that is Amazon, some of these small bookstores have the odds stacked against them at times. So, this weekend, my friend Aislinn and I went to San Francisco and shopped at 5 small bookstores I found on a list. My list went as follows:

dog eared books 900 valencia street (

borderlands books 866 valencia street (

black bird bookstore 4033 judah street (

green apple books 506 clement street ( 

city lights booksellers 261 columbus avenue (

Each store had such a different vibe but had one thing in common. A comforting and warm place for book lovers to congregate, buy material, and start conversations. In almost every store we went to, we ended up having a conversation with one of the cashiers or another patron about a book we saw on display, sharing reviews and opinions. That’s the magic of bookstores to me, and that’s why we have to keep supporting them.

Borderlands Books on Valencia Street

For example, Borderlands specializes in the mystery, horror, and science fiction genres. An entire store dedicated to those three genres, the bookshelves filled with Asimov, King, and everything in between. Even I was excited being in there, and I don’t even read those genres that much. (side not: i found lovecraft country on the featured shelf and i’ve never bought something quicker in my whole life.)

Green Apple books has a whole section of popular books in Spanish, and we were only in the annex store. There was a whole other place that was even bigger that I didn’t even know existed. City Lights had a whole section dedicated to political revolution, and Black Bird had an outside succulent garden, which the little kids who came in after us enjoyed greatly. Dog Eared Books had a sale section (that I ravaged,) but an entire front section dedicated to Black voices, especially female Black voices. pretty cool in my opinion.

Overall, I guess this is me motivating others to take a trip to a small bookstore. There’s so many hidden gems that I didn’t even get to see, so I think we all know this means I’m going back. There’s nothing like shopping from people who genuinely love what they’re selling, so it’s up to us to give that love back.

Watch our adventure down below!

special love to aislinn who dealt with me all day. what a true bestie.

Published by Claire Jackson

20 year old college student who likes to read and overthinks the smallest aspects in any social setting

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