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Best Places to Buy Cookbooks in the Bay Area?


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I have a jones for some new cookbooks-including more of those old Time-Life cookbooks. What are your favorite stores to buy cookbooks?Any secret used bookstores with lots of old cookbooks at bargain prices?

I'm especially looking for a place w/ enough comfy chairs to settle in and browse for a good long while. A nice winter afternoon retail therapy experience.

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I haven't been there in what seems like forever, but Green Apple Books at 6th and Clement has (at least used to have) a really large selection of used cookbooks. Not exactly a comfy chair place, but pleasant enough for a rambling browse.

Cheers,

Squeat

I'd forgotten all about that place. They even have a website. You're right-lots of used cookbooks, although no sets of Time Life Foods of the World.

One of my favorite bookstores is Cody's on Fourth Street. Decent selection, although for some unexplicable reason the chairs are few and far between in that spacious store-plus they are uncomfortable. Sur La Table down the street has a smaller but choice selection, but has the advantage of a nice table and chairs to pull up and browse.

Somewhere in the Bay Area must be cookbook browsing nirvana...

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Marie-Louise, I also had a hankering for the Time-Life books a few years ago and manaqed to purchase about 15 of them for $1.99-2.99 each at Half Price Books in Houston. Only a few still had the box and the recipe booklet. But they are fascinating even without...and of course there are lots of recipes in the books too. In my enthusiasm I accidently purchased more than one of a couple of them...let me check which ones they are and if you don't have them you are welcome to them. I am sure I have a duplicate of the one MFK Fisher authored. :smile:

Lobster.

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Grey Wolf in San Leandro on E 14th St, a few blocks north of Bayfair Mall.

Half-price books at various locations, one on Solano Ave in Berkeley. Others in Fremont and Concord, I think.

The Pegasus and Pendragon group, Solano Ave, College Ave by the Rockridge BART and Market Hall, and one on Shattuck and Durant.

The bookstore in Montclair, on LaSalle by the video store, can't remember the name, is small, but occasionally has a catch or two.

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FWIW, Ross (SF Market St. Store) has a whole bookcase full of cookbooks on the 3rd. Floor (on the wall behind the glassware). I don't know desirable they are, as I don't pay much attention to cookbooks unless they have nice pictures of Chinese food. On that note, I posted a message on the Chinese Cuisine board about a big sale of new cookbooks from China, Taiwan and Hong Kong at EastWind Books (1435 Stockton at Green).

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I was at Copia in Napa a few months ago, and they had a great selection of cookbooks in their gift shop. Problem with Copia is that one must pay a day use fee just to get into the place. But if you know someone who is a member and can get in with them, they get a discount on their purchases. I picked up two books during that trip.

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I was at Copia in Napa a few months ago, and they had a great selection of cookbooks in their gift shop. Problem with Copia is that one must pay a day use fee just to get into the place. But if you know someone who is a member and can get in with them, they get a discount on their purchases. I picked up two books during that trip.

I was there recently as well, and yes, I agree, they probably had the best selection of new cookbooks I've ever seen. All they need is a couple of armchairs and free admission to the store and it would be worth the drive!

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I was at Copia in Napa a few months ago, and they had a great selection of cookbooks in their gift shop.  Problem with Copia is that one must pay a day use fee just to get into the place.  But if you know someone who is a member and can get in with them, they get a discount on their purchases.  I picked up two books during that trip.

I was there recently as well, and yes, I agree, they probably had the best selection of new cookbooks I've ever seen. All they need is a couple of armchairs and free admission to the store and it would be worth the drive!

The armchairs they don't have, but you can go to the giftshop/restaurant/deli without having to pay the admission fee - just tell them at the ticket window thats where your going and they give you a restricted access button.

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The "Friends of the Oakland Library" bookstore (Oakland, near 7th and Washington?) doesn't have a huge selection (maybe a hundred or so)... but you can often find older cookbooks, and they cost next to nothing. I picked up five or six books from there over the years, and I think the most expensive one was $5.

No chairs, but there's a great crepe place next door (Toutatis).

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Try upstairs at the Draeger's market in San Mateo. They have a good selection of quality cooking books including some that you don't see at the chain bookstores.

Yes, was just about to suggest this one

actually i thought the selection at borders near union square was quite good - albeit from the point of view of a tourist from london

cheerio

j

More Cookbooks than Sense - my new Cookbook blog!
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In a similar vein, I remember a used cookware store in SF that was near the Castro. Does anyone know what this place was, and if its still there?

Hal

Yep. Cookin' on Divisadero near Page. Run by a very cranky and just plain weird woman. Lots of cool stuff in there, but her prices are ridiculous!

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from what i remember, there's a cookbook place off of union street. of course i can't remember a name or exact location but it is on a side street and has almost no storefront...i'll try to find out. anyway, i think they sell used and new but it is a tiny place with no comfy armchairs.

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Which Time-Life books are you interested in? I get a lot of these because my local library bookstore sells them on the 25 cent cart. They also have the recipe booklets that go with them. Some even have the original little slip of paper that goes in the spiral binding.

The bookstore with the Most Time-Life books, in SF, in my experience is I think either Russian Hill Bookstore or Acorn Books. I forget which one it was. I think it was Russian Hill that I'm thinking of. But they were several dollars at the time, a price I would never pay, for Time-Life books.

I love cold Dinty Moore beef stew. It is like dog food! And I am like a dog.

--NeroW

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Having perused the used book selection in both Northern and Southern California, I have this to say:

Used bookstores are much, much better in Northern CA, as a general rule.

Library bookstores are much, much better in Southern CA, as a general rule. People here will donate just about anything, and pricers are weird. Normally I buy those Time-Life books for 75 cents to a dollar for good conditions, and then of course there's the 25 cent cart for the more beaten up ones.

I just came back from the library bookstore here, and got the Cooks Illustrated bound books for 1995-1999. I got 4 for $2 each! Back in the day, I paid $30 bucks for one of those things! It pays to look.

I also got Time Life China for $1, with the recipe booklet, if you're interested.

I love cold Dinty Moore beef stew. It is like dog food! And I am like a dog.

--NeroW

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I guess this is the place for a cherished ancecdote about recipes. Maybe some antiquarian recipe collector out these can unearth the proof that I'm not pulling legs here.

Back around 1968 or 1969 I worked with a computer programmer (yes, Virginia, we had computer programmers in those days) at UC Berkeley. I don't recall her name, but she had a wicked sense of humor. Sunset Magazine at the time had a bounty for reader-submitted recipes (a munificent sum of $5 or $10). My friend purloined an old recipe for Rabbit Pie from somewhere, re-wrote it and submitted it entitled "Deep Dish Hare Pie". It was published under that title.

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Santa Cruz has some great bookstores. Logos, on the Pacific Garden Mall, is new and used books and music (including CDs, LPs, sheet music and more). The cookbook section is hugely satisfying.

For just plain comfort, Bookshop Santa Cruz has lots of comfy chairs, since the owner figures people will shoplift less if they can just read for free. It seems to work for him.

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  • 4 months later...

Hi,

I'm visiting SF (staying in Nob Hill) for a few days in May. My search on this forum has failed countless times, so pardon me if this has already been discussed. I'd like to know which the best stores to pick up discount /secondhand cookbooks in SF are, particularly in the Nob Hill area.

Thanks,

Suman

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Green Apple Books out on Clement St. Not near Nob Hill but great Chinese- American mixed community with restaurants and shops and grocery stores. Public transit accessible.

Edited by winesonoma (log)

Bruce Frigard

Quality control Taster, Château D'Eau Winery

"Free time is the engine of ingenuity, creativity and innovation"

111,111,111 x 111,111,111 = 12,345,678,987,654,321

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