Below is a list of the top and leading Bookstores in San Francisco. To help you find the best Bookstores located near you in San Francisco, we put together our own list based on this rating points list.
San Francisco’s Best Bookstores:
The top rated Bookstores in San Francisco are:
- City Lights Booksellers & Publishers – founded in 1953 by poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti and Peter D. Martin
- Borderlands Books – create a retail and mail-order business that offer a comprehensive selection of good quality and reasonably priced books
- Dog Eared Books – specializes in off-beat, small press, and local literature
- Russian Hill Bookstore – is open for in-store buying
- BookShop West Portal – is a domestically-owned, independent bookstore
City Lights Booksellers & Publishers
City Lights Booksellers & Publishers founded in 1953 by poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti and Peter D. Martin, City Lights is one of the few truly great independent bookstores in the United States, a place where book lovers from across the country and around the world come to read, browse, and just soak in the environment of alternative culture’s only Literary Landmark. Currently, City Lights has well over two hundred names in print, with a dozen new titles being published each year.
The press is well-known and respected for its dedication to innovative and progressive ideas, and its resistance to forces of conservatism and censorship. All City Lights Publications that are currently available are delightedly featured in the bookstore and on this website as well. City Lights has become renowned, but it has preserved an intimate, casual, anarchic charm. It’s a completely unique San Francisco experience and a must for anyone who appreciates good books.
Books, Publishing, Poems, Paintings
“Love this place. Always try to stop in when I’m in the area to see what is new. They have a great assortment of books, etc. especially books that are hard to find. They are very helpful in pointing you in the right direction in the store to what you’re looking g for, as well as, making recommendations. If they don’t have what you are looking for, they will do their best to get it for you. The people their have always been great and the customer service to notch.” – Clinton D.
Borderlands Books is situated on lively Valencia Street between 19th and 20th, in the center of San Francisco’s famous Mission District. Their duty is to create a retail and mail-order business that offer a comprehensive selection of good quality and reasonably priced books and other items of interest for readers of Science Fiction, Fantasy, Mystery, and Horror Fiction. The staff and management of the store will be helpful, knowledgeable, and willing to go any reasonable distance to assist their customers, whatever their needs may be.
In addition to being a workable business, this shop will be a social and professional center for readers, writers, reviewers, publishers, artists, and other individuals. The business will vigorously support both the professional and artistic community of which it is part and the area in which it is located. This help will principally be in the form of goods, services, and volunteer efforts.
Science Fiction, Fantasy, Mystery & Horror Fiction
“I ordered a signed edition of an obscure horror book from the shop. I was absolutely delighted to find a copy, and it is actually in even better condition than stated. It looks almost new. It arrived four days after I ordered it- yes, I paid priority shipping, but we all know that’s no guarantee right now- carefully wrapped and safely delivered to my doorstep. Borderlands, I just want you to know that you have made my husband’s birthday wonderful. He was so happy with the book he was speechless. I can’t recommend this store enough.” – Samantha B.
Dog Eared Books
Dog Eared Books has been supplying a book-eager in San Francisco with used, new, and remaindered books as well as cards, magazines, calendars, and blank notebooks. They are a common interest store, so they have a little of everything, but they do specialize in off-beat, small press, and local literature.
Their staff is pleased to assist you to locate specific titles or you can roam around discovering fantastic obscurities you never knew you couldn’t live without. Both Dog Eared display paintings from many wonderful local artists. Many of them are for sale, which makes them galleries as well as bookstores.
Off-Beat, Small Press, Local Literature, Paintings, Cards, Magazines, Calendars, Blank Notebooks
“Highly recommend for new and used books. Great recommendations too!” – Niki H.
Russian Hill Bookstore
Russian Hill Bookstore is open for in-store buying. it was created in 1974 and is one of the last independently-owned used and new booksellers in San Francisco. They started as Sunset Bookstore in 1974, a tiny used bookshop servicing the Sunset District west of 19th Avenue, and have been in constant operation for the past 43 years.
Individually owned by Jess Tsang and Ben Bellouin, and assisted by an experienced and client-centered staff, they continue to be a popular neighborhood destination and business store. Located on upper Polk Street, on the west side of the beautiful Russian Hill neighborhood, they are part of a larger shopping lane featuring numerous stores, restaurants, and services.
Used & New, We Buy Books, Greeting Cards, Gift Boutique, Children’s Books & Toys, Board Games & Puzzles
“This is a wonderful bookstore with knowledgeable staff. Brightly lit and friendly atmosphere, I was surprised to find this place open late on the way home from one of my adventures. This is the kind of brick and mortar worth saving.” – Nate T.
BookShop West Portal
BookShop West Portal is a domestically-owned, independent bookstore situated in the heart of the West Portal neighborhood, just one block down from the West Portal MUNI Station and right across from the Empire Movie Theatre. They have been a community meeting place for over fourteen years. They are a group of booksellers with an enthusiasm for books and serving their community.
Books, Gifts, Stationery, Kids & Teens, Gift Certificate
“Lovely bookshop with authors and their books!” – Kim R.
Shera Elliott graduated from the New Mexico State University with a major in biology and a minor in Biological Basis of Behavior & Health Care Management. Shera grew up in Los Angeles, but moved to Las Cruces for college. Shera has written for several major publications including the Albuquerque Journal and NPR. Shera is a community reporter and also covers stories important important to all Americans.