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Bart's Books, Ojai

Categories: Gift & Specialty Shops, Shopping
Inspirock Rating:
4.8/5 based on 55 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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  • As a native Texan, I was blown away by the "open-air" bookstore at Bart's Books. I was told that the store is basically an old residence with the roof removed. To me it was like a courtyard surrounded...  read more »
  • Definitely worth a visit if you're in the area. The store is basically outside, with roof covering only the shelves. Nice place to browse books while sitting in the sun! 
  • If you like books and the spirit of adventure that goes with discovering them, this is a must go-to bookstore! Famous the world over, it's an outdoors/indoors bookstore where you can meander from sect...  read more »
  • 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 search for book stores and this is another amazing find in Ojai! The BEST book store in so cal! I've traveled all over so cal and searched and searched. There have been some cool spots in LA and San Diego and Laguna Beach, but this one is the tip top!
  • Loved it! Wide selection of books. Very creative.
  • This is a lovely bookstore, completely amazing. It really shows how good bookstores should be. It is not fancy but it encourages learning and community. The atmosphere is just so pleasant. I envy those who live in Ojai.
  • Love this place for the atmosphere. Vast selection. Good place for classic book collectors as well.
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