Best Bookstore

Walden Pond Books

Often overlooked in the pantheon of East Bay indie bookstores, perhaps because it hosts fewer in-store readings and author events than some of its brethren, Walden Pond Books perseveres as a book-lover's bookstore. Located in Oakland's Grand Lake neighborhood since 1973, sandwiched between a roster of cafes and salons, the small yet densely stocked store is imbued with the inimitable soul of an old-school bookstore. This is evident the moment you walk past the shelves of discount books lining the storefront and beckoning from the sidewalk. Selling both new and used books, the place smells of yellowed pages and worn covers. Wooden floorboards creak underfoot between rows of paperbacks and hardcovers of every persuasion: non-fiction, general fiction, fantasy/science fiction, mystery/crime fiction, travel, children's, outdoors, home and garden, and more. Local authors are featured throughout, and a collection of rare books both at the front desk and upstairs in the Rare Book Room offers collectors a chance to nab first editions, signed copies, and more. The whole place proclaims that even in the iPad age, physical pages possess an inimitable power.

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