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Shop at These Amazing Independent and Used Bookstores in Santa Barbara

independent bookstores in santa barbara california

Call it a personal habit, but when I am in a new place, one of the first places I check are the independent bookstores in the hood. What kind of books do locals read? And do they have some of the authors I dearly love? Or do they have the titles I have been looking for ages? If you find yourself in the American riviera, can you please check out the independent bookstores in Santa Barbara, CA?

Looking for more things to do in Santa Barbara! We got you covered! Check out our intensive Santa Barbara travel guide!

The Book Den

15 E Anapamu St, Santa Barbara, CA  

Tucked away on a side street in downtown Santa Barbara, The Book Den, perhaps one of the top independent bookstores in Santa Barbara, has been a haven for book lovers since the 1930s. This cozy shop stocks new, used, and out-of-print books on a broad range of subjects, from Art and Literature to History and the Sciences.

The knowledgeable staff is always happy to help you find the perfect book, whether you’re looking for the latest bestseller or a rare first edition. In addition to books, The Book Den also carries a small selection of gifts, cards, and stationery.

Whether you’re a lifelong resident of Santa Barbara or just visiting for the weekend, swing by The Book Den and explore this hidden gem.

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Chaucer’s Books 

3321 State St, Santa Barbara, CA (805) 682-6787.
info@chaucersbooks.com. chaucersbooks.com

Chaucer’s Books is an independent, locally owned bookstore in Santa Barbara, CA that has been in operation since 1974. The store is located on upper State Street in Santa Barbara, California, and specializes in hard-to-find and out-of-print books. In addition to its retail operations, Chaucer’s Books offers a mail order service and provides books for libraries and individuals.

Chaucer’s Books, an institution on its own right, takes pride in its knowledgeable and helpful staff, who are always happy to make recommendations or help customers find the perfect book. The store also carries a wide selection of cards, puzzles, games, and gifts. In addition, Chaucer’s offers a loyalty program that gives discounts to frequent shoppers.

Whether you’re looking for your next great read or a unique gift, Chaucer’s Books is the place to go. Stop by today and see what all the fuss is about!

Paperback Alley

5840 Hollister Ave, Goleta, CA 

An independently owned used bookstore in Old Town Goleta, CA, Paperback Alley has been in business for 40 years. The store offers a wide variety of genres, both new and used, as well as store credit for gently used books. Santa Barbara County has been hit hard by bookstore closures in recent years, but Paperback Alley remains a strong presence in the community, serving as a gathering place for literacy and book lovers alike.

Paperback Alley has been a fixture in the Old Town Goleta community for 40 years, and it doesn’t appear to be going anywhere anytime soon. The store offers a wide variety of books, both new and used, that are sure to appeal to any reader. And if you’re looking to boost your book budget, Paperback Alley will take your gently used books in trade for store credit. So whether you’re a lifelong bibliophile or just getting started on your reading journey, be sure to swing by Paperback Alley the next time you’re in Old Town Goleta.

Lost Horizon Bookstore 

539 San Ysidro Road

Santa Barbara, CA 93108

An established name in Santa Barbara community, Lost Horizon Bookstore is the perfect place to find books on any subject imaginable. Being in the business for the past 35 years, they have a wide selection of books on art, photography, architecture, design, and more. They also carry a variety of vintage posters, original rock posters, vintage illustrations, artist’s prints, and historical photographs. If you’re looking for something specific, they likely have it. Even if you’re just browsing, you’re sure to find something interesting. And if you have any books you’re looking to sell, they’re always interested in purchasing collections or individual items. So whether you’re a lifelong bookworm or a casual reader, Lost Horizon Bookstore is definitely worth checking out.

Paradise Found 

17 East Anapamu St, 
Santa Barbara CA 93101

A nod to Milton perhaps, Paradise Found is not only a bookstore, but a place where one can come to find beauty, truth, and goodness. Set in the stunningly picturesque Santa Barbara, California, the shop is an oasis of peace and serenity.

At Paradise Found, you’re invited to browse through wisdom of the ages horizontally, snacking on this or that; or vertically, tasting one path in all its flavorful dimensions. Whether you’re looking for a new book on spirituality, want to pick up some sage for your home, or are seeking out crystals and jewelry, you’ll find what you need at Paradise Found.

Stop by the next time you’re in Santa Barbara and experience Paradise Found for yourself!

Mesa Bookstore

1838 A Cliff Drive, Santa Barbara

Mesa Bookstore has been a staple in the Santa Barbara community for 25 years. It prides itself on being the kind of place that you can come in and browse for hours, find a unique gift, or just sit and read. The store has seen the community grow and change over the years, and has adapted to best serve its customers. Whether you’re looking for new or used books, Mesa Bookstore is the perfect place to start your search.

Tecolote Book Shop 

1470 East Valley Road 
Santa Barbara, CA 
(805) 969-4977 | books@tecolotebookshop.com 

Tecolote Book Shop, one of the quiet locally owned bookstores in Santa Barbara, is the perfect place to explore and find your next great read. With an inventory of new books, best-sellers, magazines, audio books, stationary, journals, calendars, games and puzzles, you’re sure to find something that interests you.

Feel free to browse their selection of fiction, non-fiction, history, travel, poetry, children’s, young adult, interior design and architecture books. If you can’t find what you’re looking for, Tecolote offers a search service to help locate any new, used or out-of-print books you may be looking for.

Gift certificates are also available for any occasion. They make the perfect present for any book lover in your life.

Tecolote Book Shop also offers complimentary gift wrapping and shipping on all purchases, anywhere in the United States or around the world. So whether you’re looking for your next great read or searching for the perfect gift, Tecolote Book Shop is sure to have what you’re looking for.

 Ralph Sipper/Books


Established in 1970, Ralph Sipper/Books is an internationally known rare-book firm specializing in modern first editions. The business papers, correspondence, and professional writings of Ralph Sipper are housed at Indiana University’s Lilly Library. 

Since 1996 he has been conducting business as Ralph Sipper/Books. He is a member of the Antiquarian Booksellers Association of America and has served on that organization’s board of governors.

Independent bookstores increasingly become a rare sight these days. Supporting your local and independent bookstores in Santa Barbara will increase their chance of survival.

Jona of Backpacking with a Book

Hi there, I’m Jona, originally from Cebu, Philippines, had live in Hanoi, Vietnam, and now currently based in Munich, Germany. This blog used to house thoughts on life and books, but eventually it morphed into a travel blog. For collaborations, projects, and other things, please email me at backpackingwithabook@gmail.com. For essays, creative nonfiction, and others, find me elsewhere.

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  1. […] Santa Barbara is home to some of the independent bookstores that locals dearly love. Some of them have been part of the city’s city such as the Book Den and Chaucers’ Books. Independent bookshops, or bookstores in general, is increasingly becoming a rare sight. And if you are one of those romantics and hopefools, I mean hopefuls, or simply love the smell of a physical book, go, support one of the independent bookstores in Santa Barbara, California. […]

  2. Natalie says:

    I love an indie bookstore, so I’ll be checking out these gems whenever we find ourselves in this part of CA!

  3. […] Book Den, one of the independent and used books shops in Santa Barbara, is the perfect place to find your next great read. With over 25,000 books in stock, both new and […]

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