There’s nothing better than curling up with a good book, no matter which genre you prefer or what age range you enjoy. And why would you order something from Amazon or Barnes & Noble when you could support your local bookstore and get more than just a walk-in, buy and walk-out type of experience? Maybe you want to buy secondhand and save some trees, maybe you’re interested in a nice cup of tea while you soak up the paper-scented ambiance, or maybe you want to listen to an author wax poetic (or kvetch) about the writing process. For all that and more, look no further! The 2023 readers’ choice Best of the County winner is Book Passage (pictured above). For the rest of the Marin Magazine‘s Best of Marin County Bookstore picks see below.
Our 2023 Shopping category sponsor is California Girl Jewelry.
We’ve broken it down by region: Southern, and Central Marin.
At Books by the Bay, the experienced and passionate team of booksellers have over 30 years of cumulative time spent in the book business… and they love what they do. Their specially curated collection for Sausalito includes local authors, nautical & maritime reads, best sellers, classics, cookbooks, travel, wildlife and the environment, and much more. Check out their author meet-ups, book clubs, and special events. Open daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
100 Bay St, Sausalito, 415.887.9967
There’s no better place to grab a good book to dive into while you sip coffee and munch on a croissant. If you’re a local author, call up the store and they’ll smack your book onto their shelves with a proud tag declaring the book to be written by a genuine Marinite. If you want something the Depot doesn’t have in stock, the staff will order it for you and you can grab a tasty lunch on your way out to tide you over while you wait. Kids can enjoy the comfy Children’s Corner or parents can browse the aisles there for presents. Hours are 8:30 a.m. – 6 p.m. Sunday through Wednesday, 8:30 a.m. – 6:30 p.m. Thursday, and 8:30 a.m. – 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
87 Throckmorton Ave., Mill Valley, 415.888.3648
A hub for bibliophiles across Marin, Book Passage does a lot more than your average Barnes & Noble. Its author events are known far and wide for being something you simply can’t miss. If you show up at an event, you could be in for a writing lesson, a fascinating lecture on a topic that’s far more profound than you would have imagined, or a classic in-conversation where an author (or two or three) chats about their book with fans. For those who don’t like big bookstores but still want to feel part of something big, you can’t go wrong with Book Passage. Hours are 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and 11 a.m. – 6 p.m. Sunday.
51 Tamal Vista Blvd., Corte Madera, 415.927.0960
Nestled in downtown San Anselmo, this small, women-owned bookstore offers new and used books. Open Sunday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturdays 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
615 San Anselmo Ave, San Anselmo, 415.459.7323
Located in the heart of downtown San Rafael, Copperfield’s offers a wide selection of books, gifts, magazines and more. What makes it truly special is a focus on making sure every child has access to a good book. The store has kids storytime events, fundraisers for local schools and online book fairs for the Covid-concious parents. The Copperbox program (available for kids and adults) drops a box with books, puzzles and more to your doorstep every month. Adults also can join drop-in bookclubs to scope out the action and make friends who share the same literary interests. Hours are 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Sunday.
1200 4th St., San Rafael, 415.524.2800
Selling both new and used books, Open Secret prides itself on being a center of spiritual and metaphysical books in the Bay Area. It’s dedicated to sharing wisdom and beauty through its collection of titles, with an additional emphasis on titles written by and for women. An attached cafe space is not only for your usual book signings and writing lectures, but also for concerts and dance performances. For those searching for a more soulful reading experience, this is the perfect place for you. Hours are 12 p.m. – 4:45 p.m. Thursday through Saturday.
923 C St., San Rafael, 415.457.4191