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Bart's Books, Ojai

(4.9/5 based on 75 reviews on the web)
Bart’s Books, at the corner of Matilija and Canada streets in Ojai, CA, is the home to the largest independently owned and operated outdoor bookstore in the U.S.A.

In 1964 Bart’s Books was little more than a sparkle in the eye of Richard Bartinsdale whose collection of books had gotten so overwhelming that he constructed a series of book cases along the sidewalk so that passersby could peruse the titles.

In lieu of a cash register, “Bart” left coffee cans atop the book cases. People would select a title or two and leave payment in the cans, giving birth to Bart’s world famous tradition of selling books via the honor system.

Since that time Bart’s Books has become host to nearly one million books ranging from the thirty-five cent specials which line the outside walls and are still for sale on the honor system, to rare, out of print first editions, and art books valued in the thousands of dollars.

Nearly half a century after its inception, Bart’s Books continues to mystify patrons, journalists, and book lovers with a character and charm that beggars description and a selection of books that is beyond compare.
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Reviews
TripAdvisor
  • It's hard to imagine a bookstore like this anywhere in the World. But, here in Ojai, we locals can't imagine Ojai without it. When you visit Ojai, visit Bart's. It will not disappoint!  more »
  • After living in Southern California for 60 years, I finally got to Bart's Books and didn't leave for two hours! Honestly, I could have stayed for a lot longer! What's so interesting is that the used b...  more »
  • No trip to Ojai would be complete without a visit to Bart's Books. This is no ordinary bookshop - oh no! This is an outside / inside, stroll around and browse experience which can unearth hidden treas...  more »
Google
  • This place is highly unique, great selection, welcoming staff, walk around and look for hours with out harassment, family friendly, safe, and they even have some sales from time to time. They have a room to rent or use at a discount for locals as well. I suggest this spot to everyone.
  • One of the last great used bookstores in the southland. Smaller than the defunct Acres of Books in Long Beach but much better organized. They both buy and sell books, books on CDs and some videos however they buy only during weekdays. Good selection of SF, mysteries, travel books, and maritime books (all my interests).
  • If you have an an hour or an afternoon, stop by to surf the collection of books at Bart's. I loved this "little" outdoor bookstore. There are lots of collections and plenty of places to perch and peruse the many treasures within. The staff is friendly and will try to guide you to your area of interest but do not hover.
  • Bart's Books is famous for a reason, if you are visiting Ojai this is one spot you do not want to miss and do plan on spending a few hours here for the wealth of books they have is stupendous! There is also "special' rooms within that provide book collectors a haven to explore.
  • I really loved this bookstore. Bart's Books is a must visit while you are visiting Ojai.