Alta’s Favorite Bookstores: Update 3

Bookstore suggestions keep rolling in, so here are 12 more we’re excited to add to our list.

alta journal, favorite bookstores 2022, update 3

From Orange County in Southern California across to Reno, Nevada, and on up to Tacoma, Washington, Alta Journal readers and the bookstore communities of California and the West are ensuring that we don’t leave any great shops out of our guide. Still don’t see your favorite in Alta’s 2022 Favorite Bookstores? Nominate it using this form!

laguna beach books, laguna beach
Laguna Beach Books

Laguna Beach, California

If a major author is touring, chances are their Orange County stop will include, if not be limited to, this neighborhood institution on the Pacific Coast Highway. Laguna Beach Books is a narrow but long store featuring classics, upmarket fiction as well as blockbusters, and more—not to mention a great nod to books on surf and skate culture. (Because, duh, Laguna.) —nominated by Amy Fulford, Laguna Beach

lido village books, newport beach
Lido Village Books

Newport Beach, California

Tiny but mighty is this elegant indie, tucked into the sleek waterside development of Lido Marina Village. When the longtime owners of Lido Village Books decided to retire, Michelle Pierce saved the day by buying the shop, maintaining its reputation for an exquisitely curated selection for the well-read (or those who want to be), and promoting open readings for local writers. Pierce is about to launch a sister store, Malibu Village Books. —nominated by Amy Fulford, Laguna Beach

book carnival, orange county
Book Carnival

Orange, California

Get your murders here, folks! It’s not fancy (think ’70s-strip-mall aesthetic), but for some 40 years, Book Carnival has been killing it with mystery, suspense, and crime fiction fans in north Orange County. It’s the place to catch readings by some of the genres’ big dogs, from Michael Connelly to Faye Kellerman, or to join a book club. —nominated by Samantha Dunn, Orange

sandpiper books, los angeles
Sandpiper Books

Torrance, California

This unassuming bookstore has something for everyone. From the dollar and two-dollar finds competing for space in the roller cart outside the shop to the wall of out-of-print and collector’s titles, Sandpiper Books is an old-school gem, with plenty of writerly trinkets to boot. —nominated by Cathie English, Torrance

olivia and daisy, carmel valley
Olivia & Daisy

Carmel Valley, California

This charming Carmel Valley establishment is a magnet for local literati and wine country visitors alike. Founded in 2021 by former Orinda Books owner Maria Roden and designer Jane Pakis, it offers everything from Europa and New York Review editions to coffee-table books and hosts readings with neighbors like Pulitzer Prize winner Jane Smiley. —nominated by Paul Wilner, Seaside

river house books, carmel
River House Books

Carmel, California

Carmel residents drew a sigh of relief when Scott and Jennifer Lund, who also own Lula’s Chocolates across the street, stepped in to save River House Books in 2018 after the then-owners announced their retirement. The well-appointed store features fiction, travel titles, California histories, magazines—and a killer mystery section. It also sells Peepers reading glasses! —nominated by Nancy Strom, Los Altos

spectator books, oakland
Spectator Books

Oakland, California

Even your dog is welcome at Spectator Books, a store staffed by queer and nonbinary folks committed to community. The shop is a maze of new and used books for all ages. It carries tarot cards and features curated shelves of titles on local history, matters of the occult, Black radicals, LGBTQ topics, and psychedelics. Visit the website to learn about trading used books for store credit. —nominated by Stacie Willoughby, Oakland

pegasus bookstore, berkeley
Pegasus Books

Berkeley, California

If browsing zines, new and used books, records, cassettes, and CDs in a shop where everyone wears a mask sounds good to you, then make a beeline for Pegasus Books’ downtown location. Kids and young adults won’t be disappointed by the selection either. While there, shop for reading-related gifts and thumb through unique greeting cards. The store operates another Berkeley location and one in Oakland. —nominated by Norma Galvan

copperfields books, sebastopol
Copperfield's Books Sebastopol

Sebastopol, California

Inside the historic Analy Five & Dime building on Sebastopol’s main street, you’ll find a cozy, well-lit haven for exploring diverse titles displayed on wood shelves. This community hub hosts author readings and serves as a hangout for locals who prize a good read and thoughtful recommendations from the book-loving staff. Copperfield’s operates eight other locations in the North Bay. —nominated by Carol Sklenicka, Jenner, and Michelle Moore, Petaluma

russian river books and letters, guerneville
Meg Cooper Photography

Guerneville, California

All bookstores have a personality, and Russian River Books has a warm one that greets you like an old friend. Owner Michael Rex is a teacher who cares about good books and his small-town community. He’s created an inclusive place that offers free ESL night classes and letter-writing workshops. —nominated by Liz Bazar

teaching toys and books, tacoma
Teaching Toys and Books

Tacoma, Washington

From cloth binding for infants to board books for toddlers to fully fledged chapter titles for young adults, Teaching Toys and Books has you covered for all your kids’ reading needs—and their playing needs, too. It has hundreds of toys for sale and a staff armed with knowledge about how each one operates. The store’s second location, Teaching Toys, Too, is in Gig Harbor. —nominated by Cartha Tennille, San Dimas, California

sundance books and music, reno
Sundance Books and Music

Reno, Nevada

Sundance calls itself “a creative tavern of the soul”—and backs it up. The wow factor of its colonnaded exterior—it occupies a century-old mansion—is matched inside by two floors of books anchored by a robust section of Nevada-oriented titles. Its alcoves and chairs encourage dawdling and conversation, and it even operates a publishing imprint. —nominated by Michael Dettinger, Carson City

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