Best bookstores offer big selections and low prices

Rebecca Smalbach

Whether you’re looking to find the latest bestseller or a Pulitzer-winning classic, the Bark has you covered with a review of the best bookstores in Marin. The Bark compared four bookstores: Barnes & Noble, Book Passage, Diesel and Copperfield’s. The bookstores were reviewed based on affordability, atmosphere, and quality of shopping experience.

 

Book Passage: (4.5 out of 5)

Located in Corte Madera, Book Passage is the quintessential community bookstore. Book Passage is known for hosting authors and other events, making it a great place to get involved with the book-loving community in Marin. Though Book Passage has a wide selection of books, it is best for hardcore book lovers who are willing to engage in lengthy conversation with store staff about the latest niche books. Though the books can be expensive and the decor isn’t inviting, staff who are cheery and knowledgeable make Book Passage an apt place to go for recommendations from people who are passionate about books.

 

Copperfield’s: (2.5 out of 5)

A pleasant display of books at Copperfield's.
A pleasant display of books at Copperfield’s.

Like Diesel, Copperfield’s is a small chain bookstore in downtown San Rafael with more of a family feel. The store is bright and very minimalistic, a visually pleasing choice. However, compared to the other bookstores on this list, the selection of books at Copperfield’s is very small, and the books are quite expensive. The staff aren’t particularly attentive, and this is not a bookstore to go to without having a book in mind already. Don’t go out of your way to buy books at Copperfield’s―other bookstores have a larger variety of books, and are cheaper to boot.

 

 

Barnes & Noble: (4 out of 5)

Barnes & Noble is the upscale Walmart of bookstores in Marin. A large chain, Barnes & Noble has a huge selection of books in terms of breadth as well as depth. The company can afford to offer its books for much cheaper prices than those of many locally-owned bookstores due to the sheer volume of books it is able to sell. However, the atmosphere of the store seems impersonal, and employees aren’t particularly invested in helping customers find the perfect book. If you know exactly which book you’re looking for and shopping at chain stores doesn’t bother you, then Barnes & Noble is an excellent bookstore for a cheap read.

 

Diesel: (3.5 out of 5)

Diesel is a small chain bookstore located in Larkspur Landing that is often overlooked by people searching for a literary present due to its less-traversed location, giving it a tranquil environment. Though Diesel’s selection is small enough that it shouldn’t be a go-to for the classics, it does have an impressive display of lesser-known human interest books that make superb gifts. The store is also incredibly aesthetically pleasing, with well-lit stands and colorful displays; Diesel is a pleasant store in which to spend time. The employees are knowledgeable, friendly and willing to help. Diesel is the place to go for an unusual book you might not have picked up otherwise, though the prices are among the most expensive.