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Looking to try the top bookstores around?

Hoodline crunched the numbers to find the best affordable such businesses in Oakland, using both Yelp data and our own secret sauce to produce a ranked list. Read on for a rundown.

1. Walden Pond Bookstore

Photo: ann s./Yelp

Topping the list is Walden Pond Bookstore. Located at 3316 Grand Ave. (between Elwood and Lake Park avenues), it's the highest-rated inexpensive bookstore in Oakland, boasting 4.5 stars out of 201 reviews on Yelp. 

We looked there for an overview of the business.

"Walden Pond is Oakland's oldest independent bookstore," it states in the history section of its Yelp profile. "The name comes from Henry David Thoreau's 'Walden or Life in the Woods,' as our first location was a combination book and plant store. The store has expanded twice, initially in 1976 and finally at our current location in 1986, in our beautifully arched building."

Now in its third generation of family ownership, the store's extensive offerings include such genres as new and used fiction, politics, poetry, children's books, cookbooks, mystery, science fiction, religion and more, according to Yelp.

2. Owl & Company Bookshop

photo: lissette m./yelp

Next up is Owl & Company Bookshop, at 3941 Piedmont Ave. (between Montell Street and Monte Vista Avenue). With five stars out of 54 reviews on Yelp, the bookstore has proven to be a local favorite for those looking for an inexpensive option.

If you're curious to know more, we found these details about Owl & Company Bookshop. According to Yelp, the store is a secondhand bookshop that features "a wide assortment of vintage, antiquarian and modern books in all subjects" within its floor-to-ceiling bookshelves. There's also a selection of Spanish-language literature available.

3. Bookmark Bookstore/Friends of the Oakland Public Library

Photo: hari P./Yelp

Jack London Square's Bookmark Bookstore/Friends of the Oakland Public Library, at 721 Washington St., is another top choice. Yelpers give the inexpensive bookstore five stars out of 49 reviews. 

As to what the business is known for, its Yelp profile notes it "is a primarily volunteer-run bookstore" that provides "used, rare and out-of-print books at discount prices." Proceeds from the bookstore go toward the Oakland Public Library.

4. Spectator Bookstore

Photo: Jingguo W./Yelp

Last but not least, Spectator Bookstore is another much-loved, low-priced go-to, with 4.5 stars out of 90 Yelp reviews. Head over to 4163 Piedmont Ave. (between 41st Street and Linda Avenue) to see for yourself.

Yelper Isabella A., who recently reviewed the business, wrote, "Very cute mom-and-pop bookstore. It looks small from the outside, but goes back pretty far. I also noticed that they have a small used VHS and DVD section, which is pretty cool."

Blake S. noted, "I love this book store. I happened to stumble upon it while running errands one day. Great selection of books. I went in looking for one book but came out with four. Adorable store."


This story was created automatically using local business data, then reviewed and augmented by an editor. Click here for more about what we're doing. Got thoughts? Go here to share your feedback.

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