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Bart's Books, Ojai

4.8
#3 of 31 in Things to do in Ojai
Gift & Specialty Shop · Shopping
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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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Bart's Books reviews

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TripAdvisor traveler rating 5.0
138 reviews
Google
4.8
TripAdvisor
  • Bart's has been here forever & is an amazing bookstore - really cute, however, the prices are insanely high. Eight bucks for a used paperback that you can get on-line for 1.99 & in this economy? I.....  more
    Bart's has been here forever & is an amazing bookstore - really cute, however, the prices are insanely high. Eight bucks for a used paperback that you can get on-line for 1.99 & in this economy? I.....  more »
  • Very unique bookstore with thousands of books of all varieties. Has to be seen to be believed. Staff was scarce and not very talkative. Found a Will Rogers book to read on the way to his ranch in... 
    Very unique bookstore with thousands of books of all varieties. Has to be seen to be believed. Staff was scarce and not very talkative. Found a Will Rogers book to read on the way to his ranch in...  more »
Google
  • Very interesting experience. Most of the bookstore is exposed to the elements but protected enough not to be damaged. Walking around the bookshelves and in and out of the sunlight was an incredible experience. Throughout the store were seats buyers could use to enjoy a few minutes of perusing their prospective purchases.
  • This is an amazing book store in the heart of a neighborhood. Plenty of options for everyone. The staff is very helpful and friendly. I'd say it's a reason to visit Ojai if you are a book lover. Very well organized. They had a fun yearbook section which captivated my teen daughter. They accept trade for books. They also have a well maintained antiquarian section.

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