Moe's Books. Generations of UC Berkeley students have lugged books to and from Moe's, a four-story landmark near campus. Moe's has it all, but it's particularly good for books on the arts, from architecture to photography. 2476 Telegraph Ave.; www.moesbooks.com or 510/849-2087.
The Bookstore. The name says it all: This ramshackle spot is the best for miles. There's an especially good selection of literary classics in paperback (on your left, near the front door). Its location near several cafes also means you can peruse your purchases over coffee. 118 Main St.; 530/345-7441.
Ames Bookstore. The shop is quirky and warrenlike, with hand-lettered aphorisms and advice on the walls. Get lost amid carefully numbered sections that range from ballooning to John F. Kennedy's assassination. Closed Tue-Wed. 309 Neal St.; 530/273-9261.
Bell's Books. Stepping into this family-owned shop, open since 1935, feels a bit like entering another era. Look for children's books (often featured in themed displays) and an outstanding selection of gardening titles. Closed Sun. 536 Emerson St.; www.bellsbooks.com or 650/323-7822.
Green Apple Books. It's worth the search for parking in the Inner Richmond to check out the eclectic secondhand selections (some new books too) here. Don't miss the music, fiction, and DVD annex. 506 Clement St.; www.greenapplebooks.com or 415/387-2272.