Fulfill Your Book-Loving Dreams
Story By: Joy Rowden
Books are essential to our daily lives whether you read for recreation or school. Barnes & Noble and Amazon have a huge monopoly on book sales. Because of this smaller bookstores, especially used ones, get forgotten. I visited several of the local bookstores and was amazed by the quality, selection, and price of the used books.
At the time, I was searching for writing reference, Korean, and Spanish books. I was not disappointed. If you are looking for a certain book, search for it at a used bookstore before consulting online.
Sometimes, you will luck out and find a gently used book or a bestseller. Also, you do not have to travel to Los Angeles (The Last Bookstore) to find a used bookstore. For example, there are more than six used bookstores located in Long Beach or in nearby cities.
I recommend taking a peek at a used bookstore before purchasing your next textbook. You might be surprised what you will find. Below are three used bookstores located near CSULB.
Once Read Books
5422 E Village Rd, Long Beach, CA 90808
This bookstore is located in the Parkview Village shopping center across from Heartwell Park. According to the store’s website, they have been in business since 1987, but have only been in their current building starting back in 1999.
It is a great place to stroll by after having coffee with friends at the Village Cafe, which is across from the bookstore.
Inside the store is a decent collection of older books and a few antique types of books. It is a smaller store, but it is crowded with shelves of books on all sides. Unlike other bookstores, they do not carry a lot of newer books.
On their website, they list several of the books in the store, which can be purchased online. If you are looking to trade your paperback books, this is the place to do it. In exchange for three paperback books, you will receive one of theirs for free.
At the moment, they are looking to buy books about art, military, transportation, and history.
Lakewood Center Mall, Lakewood, CA 90712
BookOff is a Japanese bookstore chain and is one of the largest bookstore chains in Japan.
It is a larger bookstore that offers a wide variety of new and used books. I have seen the same book several times in one visit. This place is open later during the week compared to other local bookstores. Monday through Friday, the store is open from 10 AM to 9 PM.
Need extra spending money? Put your neglected books to use by selling them at BookOff.
Books are not the only item on sale at BookOff. They also sell DVDs, video-games, antique collectibles, action figures, TV/computer screens, stereos, DVD players, gaming systems, guitars, amps, cameras, phones, keyboards, and CDs. These items are sold at a cheaper price than if bought new and are in mint condition.
Their books are categorized by the following:
Special interest (art, photography, business, religion, foreign language, cooking, reference, etc)
5535 E Spring St, Long Beach, CA 90808
“So what makes the store special is that we have a bookstore cat named Ruby that lives in the store. We have plenty of customers that come in and never buy a book but come to see Ruby and that is totally cool with us,” said Sean Moor, the bookstore owner.
Moor started his bookstore business eight years ago, and sells new and used books. The prices can be on the higher end compared to other used bookstores. However, the price matches the quality of the books.
The store constantly has incoming books. Also, you won't have to worry about spending too much time searching for a book, because the store is very organized.
Are you a writer? Do you want to learn how to write? At Gatsby Books, there is a writers group that meets every Tuesday at 7 PM. This is a great opportunity to share your current works with other writers and enhance your creative writing skills.
All events that Gatsby Books hosts are free to the public. They usually have two to three events each week, which all happen inside the store. Sometimes they have poetry readings, author visits, bands, and book clubs. It is important to Moor that the store acts as a performance space for writers and artists.
“We offer free coffee and water. We try to make it basically like you are stopping by someone’s house,” said Moor, “The store for its size, we are about 1,000 square feet, I think we have about the best selection of any used bookstore in California for our size. You would be hard pressed to find a store that is as small as this one and has as much good stuff on the shelves and not junk.”
The community is an important aspect to Gatsby Books. They sell books published by local authors. “We have a lot of books that are published locally, including people from CSULB, and even books from CSULB professors,” said Moor.
Did not find the book you are looking for? Just ask the front desk to order the book for you.
“We do new and used ordering. If you want a new book, we are plugged into the same places as Barnes & Noble. We can get any new book within three to four days. I also know all the used bookstores on the West Coast,” said Moor.
In need of extra cash? Bring your new and gently used books and sell them to this store. You can either receive cash or store credit. If you are trying to declutter your living space, you can also donate your dusty books here.
“We buy and sell new and gently used books. So, if you have books around the house or textbooks, you’ll probably do a lot better taking them here [Gatsby Books] to sell back than the college bookstore. Because we actually value the books you use in college. At the end of the semester, bring that pile of books to here [Gatsby Books] first and you will be pleasantly surprised,” said Moor.