Best bookstores to explore in Berkeley

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Kevin Chan/Staff

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If you’re a bibliophile, then the campus student store just won’t do the trick for you when you want to get lost in a sea of books. Thankfully, there are plenty of stores in Berkeley for you to enjoy. So let the inner booklover in you loose, and get started on your back-to-school shopping by exploring some of the greatest bookshops in the city.

Moe’s Books

Moe’s Books has been serving booklovers since 1959, and it’s easily the best bookstore in Berkeley. From rare to used to newly published books, you can find pretty much any book you’ll ever want here, and it’s only a few blocks away from campus. The staff also often organizes exclusive events with authors as prestigious as Joyce Carol Oates and Meg Elison. You can spend hours exploring all four floors and not get bored.

Pegasus Books

Cute and quaint, Pegasus Books has not only a great selection of used books, but also lots of literature-themed apparel and decorations. The store has a relaxing atmosphere — perfect for when you want to sit down and flip through a book before buying it. And as an added bonus, there are usually a couple adorable cats lounging around!

Mrs. Dalloway’s Literary and Garden Arts

Although founded more recently than historic landmarks such as Moe’s Books, Mrs. Dalloway’s has quickly become a staple of the Berkeley book-shopping experience. A spacious and warm environment, the store has a wide selection of well-known contemporary titles. Even its name is a literary reference, coming from the first line of the Virginia Woolf novel “Mrs. Dalloway.

Eastwind Books of Berkeley

While it may be small, Eastwind Books of Berkeley has a diverse selection of literature. For more than 30 years, the store has specialized in books related to ethnic studies. It offers books by Native American, Asian American, Black and Chicanx authors, to name a few. The store also regularly hosts events with authors of color, most notably Ed Lin and Sunaina Marr Maira. If you’re looking for more books by people of color, this is the place for you.

Half Price Books

If you want to be surrounded by stacks and stacks of books, this is the store for you. Half Price Books is filled with a variety of affordable used books, and both classic and contemporary titles fill its shelves. Located in Downtown Berkeley, this store is perfect to satisfy your book-buying needs — in an affordable way.

University Press Books

Just down the street from campus, University Press is a small and cozy shop. You can buy some schoolbooks here, but unlike the campus store, it has so much more to offer. Home to many scholarly titles, University Press is the place to go when you want to peruse those intellectual and philosophical works.

Chantelle Lee is the managing editor. Contact her at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @ChantelleHLee.