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A locally owned literary institution on U.S. 50 since 1983, Placerville’s the Bookery is full of treasures: gold rush and western U.S. history is a specialty. The shop is prized for its customer service and growing selection of occult titles and “weird fiction.” Placerville
Since the closure of cherished Sagebrush Press Books in Old Town, Cactus Wren has been the only bookseller in Yucca Valley. The family-owned shop packs a lot of previously owned titles into its narrow spot on Twentynine Palms Highway, including an especially large stash of classic desert books and periodicals. Yucca Valley
Situated off the main street in this old mining town, Harmony Books has brought a new kind of gold to Nevada City’s historic assay office. The brick facade, with its hand-painted sign, now welcomes visitors to the only local store that carries new books. Behind a front table dedicated to the latest releases, the shop’s shelves are stocked with titles that keep its community in mind. Nevada City
The only bookshop in Ridgecrest is an expansive 7,000 square feet of new, used, and specialty books (and other gifts) in a welcoming environment—Oliver the cat may greet you—that makes a fine midday stop for eastern California travelers. The local/regional section alone is worth the visit. Ridgecrest
Spellbinder has been the place for booklovers in the Owens Valley since 1970. Independently owned and stocked with a wide range of fiction, kids’ books, nonfiction, and regional titles, this classic stop on the 395 in downtown Bishop also has the Pupfish Cafe, serving coffee and snacks in back. Bishop
A real High Desert experience awaits the book browser at Laura Sibley Bone’s Wonderland Books. Open when the flag’s up outside, Wonderland is located in a classic homestead cabin across the road from the Palms, a restaurant also owned by the Sibley family. The bar, on quiet afternoons, is a fine place to read whatever you may have picked up at Wonderland. Wonder Valley
At its downtown location on Donner Pass Road, where it moved in 2020, Word After Word offers a wonderfully selected inventory of new books, including local and regional titles as well as bestsellers, and a welcoming kids’ room so adults can browse in peace. The store also operates Rock Cellar Records in the basement, where it sells vinyl and bargain-priced books. Truckee