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Bart's Books, Ojai

(4.9/5 based on 60+ 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
  • This bookstore is simply amazing; it is unlike anything I have ever seen. I’m not even a die-hard reader, but I could have spent all day and way too much money in this beautiful, unique place. It is a...  more »
  • My granddaughters absolutely love this bookstore. They could stay for hours. It is an open air store. The employees are so nice and knowledgeable. 
  • Wander in the stacks, sit at a table under the oaks, meet new congenial people, take home a fascinating used book. This is a great way to spend a day either as a visitor or as a local resident. Bring ...  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.