Readers' Choice: What's the Best Bookstore in Marin?

Some say bookstores are a dying breed, but Marin still hosts some great spots to browse hardcovers, sip a tea or listen to a literary speaker. Let us know which book shop is your favorite.

We pride ourselves as being your online source for all things local. But in the age of iPads, Kindles, Nooks and their countless brethren, we gotta admit to still cherishing the feeling of curling up with a physical book. It doesn't run out of batteries, and you can throw it on the floor without breaking anything. Where do you go when you need a new dose of fiction?

The nominees for the best bookstore in Marin are:

  •  (Larkspur)
  •  (Corte Madera)
  •  (Novato)
  •  (San Anselmo)
  •  (Mill Valley)
  •  (San Rafael)
  •  (Mill Valley)
  •  (San Anselmo)
  •  (San Rafael)

And if you own or manage one of the businesses in our contest, be sure to "Claim" your listing; this allows you to customize the information that appears on our site, and to thank your loyal customers for the five-star ratings they give you.

Alex Horvath August 18, 2012 at 03:27 PM
I love it that people in Marin are so passionate about their local book stores!
Erik Heldfond August 18, 2012 at 07:03 PM
I just returned to the bookstore this morning from vacation and one of our staff informed me of this poll. I've read the comments above with great interest and appreciate The Patch enabling a forum for the discussion of bookstores. My reaction was that of Mr. Horvath's - it is gratifying that people here are emotionally involved with their bookstores.This is as it should be, for a community is culturally defined by the bookstores it supports ! I wish to congratulate the staff and volunteers at the Book Place on this public recognition of the fine and important work they do in support of the Public Library. For more than two decades, our bookstore has been engaged in multitudinous efforts in support of Libraries throughout Marin. From lectures and appraisals to organization and donation, we have stridently demonstrated our commitment to and appreciation for, the Public Libraries of our community. Indeed, it has been our standard policy to refer clients offering books to us for sale which do not meet our requirements, to donate them to one of the Public Library stores. There are some vital issues raised in many of these comments - some were expressed a bit too forcefully but, they are well considered.Although not applicable to our rather niched business, I can readily see the financial inequity extant between the other Retail Bookstores and Library stores and the anxiety involved.Times are tough. Local support is the key. Erik Heldfond Owner Heldfond Book Gallery,Ltd.
Patricia Hess August 18, 2012 at 08:50 PM
I really appreciate your thoughtful and generous comments. There are not enough bookstores in Marin; we need each and every one of them. We ought to start a club and get together now and then to share stories and ideas. Thank you for your thoughts and continued good luck to you and your lovely store. Patricia Hess, long-time Book Place volunteer
Barbara Madrid August 18, 2012 at 10:12 PM
Thank you, Mr. Heldfond, for your gracious remarks. I agree wholeheartedly--there is a place and a need for all of us. We understand that times are tough, and that goes for the libraries too--the cuts have been deep. The most important thing we can do is provide access to books, whether to see a child's face light up, or to delight someone who's found a rare edition for which they've searched a long time. The key is to support local booksellers, and not the online retailers, whenever possible. The volunteers at Book Place (and we are 100% volunteer) give totally of themselves, and inspire me daily. After 19 years of volunteering here, and the last 2 years managing the store, I still love the joy of discovery and helping to find someone find something to capture his/her interest, or to find a home for their precious donations. The best to you.
Jim Welte August 18, 2012 at 11:36 PM
Thanks to everyone who voted and commented on this. First off, I'd like to apologize that the voting ended a few hours early - it was a simple mistake. I'd remind you, however, that voting was opening for more than three weeks, and while we appreciate the heightened interest as the deadline neared, our intent was not to stifle voting, just an honest mistake that affected all nominees equally. Congrats to Book Place, as well as Heldfond and Book Passage for their strong showings. We'll be running a story highlighting all of the winners next week.


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