Black Oak Books

★★★★☆
  • 1491 Shattuck Ave

    Berkeley, CA 94709

    Map & Directions
  • 510-486-0698

About Black Oak Books

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This is a great place to find used books in good shape. If you are looking for something hard to find or your budget is slim, you'll probably find it here. They also have current bet sellers, cookbooks, etc so you can get some holiday shopping done too!

4
★★★★☆

This is a great place to find used books in good shape. If you are looking for something hard to find or your budget is slim, you'll probably find it here. They also have current bet sellers, cookbooks, etc so you can get some holiday shopping done too!

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When I'm in Berkeley (which is not often enough), I have a few very specific places that I MUST visit. Luckily for me, two of my favorite places are just doors away from each other. Black Oak Books has a great selection of different books, but for me the pull is the HUGE food-related section. Yes, it's mostly cookbooks, but there are selections on food history, anecdotal essays, etc. Yes, there are larger bookstores in the Bay Area, but the folks at Black Oak Books know their product. They're not just cashiers like you'll find in all of the huge chain bookstores. If you have questions, they'll have answers or know how to get the answers. Give Black Oak Books a visit when you're in Berkeley.

2
★★★★☆

When I'm in Berkeley (which is not often enough), I have a few very specific places that I MUST visit. Luckily for me, two of my favorite places are just doors away from each other. Black Oak Books has a great selection of different books, but for me the pull is the HUGE food-related section. Yes, it's mostly cookbooks, but there are selections on food history, anecdotal essays, etc. Yes, there are larger bookstores in the Bay Area, but the folks at Black Oak Books know their product. They're not just cashiers like you'll find in all of the huge chain bookstores. If you have questions, they'll have answers or know how to get the answers. Give Black Oak Books a visit when you're in Berkeley.

Pros: selection, professionalism, staff knowledge

Cons: parking is scarce

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black oaks is sort of like a book thrift store. i went there once, looking for an old text book- not only did they have it, but it was less than half of what the school was charging. everytime i go in there, i'm reminded of being in a library- in the sense, that there's a never ending stream of books of all kinds.....and they're so cheap, you'd think they were free...so, yeah....in many ways....it's like a library.

4
★★★★☆

black oaks is sort of like a book thrift store. i went there once, looking for an old text book- not only did they have it, but it was less than half of what the school was charging. everytime i go in there, i'm reminded of being in a library- in the sense, that there's a never ending stream of books of all kinds.....and they're so cheap, you'd think they were free...so, yeah....in many ways....it's like a library.

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I love their wide selection of used books, particularly in Mysteries and cookbooks. The Children's section is in a separate room and is cozy and sweet. It's quiet and there is no coffee bar, etc. Just books!

They offer a varied calendar of author readings that are frendly gatherings inside the store and a great way to broaden one's reading horizons or to hear the author read his/her words from books that you have read and enjoyed.

4
★★★★☆

I love their wide selection of used books, particularly in Mysteries and cookbooks. The Children's section is in a separate room and is cozy and sweet. It's quiet and there is no coffee bar, etc. Just books!

They offer a varied calendar of author readings that are frendly gatherings inside the store and a great way to broaden one's reading horizons or to hear the author read his/her words from books that you have read and enjoyed.

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Perhaps because they are in Berkeley, they are only "ok." Berkeley has so man great bookstores. Black Oak specializes in used and rare books. They do manage to attract good authors and speakers to their store for events on occasion. In terms of comparison, I would say that Moe's and Cody's books are slightly better bookstores, mainly because of price and service. My unscientific research showed Black Oaks is slightly the most expensive of the three. Also, the workers arent as friendly. By no means, are they mean, but I've seen better service else where.

3
★★★☆☆

Perhaps because they are in Berkeley, they are only "ok." Berkeley has so man great bookstores. Black Oak specializes in used and rare books. They do manage to attract good authors and speakers to their store for events on occasion. In terms of comparison, I would say that Moe's and Cody's books are slightly better bookstores, mainly because of price and service. My unscientific research showed Black Oaks is slightly the most expensive of the three. Also, the workers arent as friendly. By no means, are they mean, but I've seen better service else where.

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Black Oak Books offers a lot of nifty stuff for readers & shoppers, but at this point, nothing near enough to be the only bookstore I frequent.

Black Oak books is a general bookstore, trying to offer a little bit of everything for shoppers, and for the most part, it does a satisfactory job. For those looking to pay slightly less for reading, Black Oak has a limited used section. While the quality of the used books is higher than found in Moe's or Shakespeare, the selection is much smaller. I just think that there are many things that other area stores do better than Black Oak.

PROS: high quality of used books, author events
CONS: broad, if shallow selection

3
★★★☆☆

Black Oak Books offers a lot of nifty stuff for readers & shoppers, but at this point, nothing near enough to be the only bookstore I frequent.

Black Oak books is a general bookstore, trying to offer a little bit of everything for shoppers, and for the most part, it does a satisfactory job. For those looking to pay slightly less for reading, Black Oak has a limited used section. While the quality of the used books is higher than found in Moe's or Shakespeare, the selection is much smaller. I just think that there are many things that other area stores do better than Black Oak.

PROS: high quality of used books, author events
CONS: broad, if shallow selection

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Black Oaks draws the biggest-name authors for its reading series. It has a reasonable selection of new books (though not competitive with Cody's) and the array of academic and literary books of a premiere college town used book store (competitive with Moe's).

The staff does not have the surly, condescending "Perhaps I might deign to ring up your purchases" attitude of the staff at Moe's. They seem knowledgeable, if less friendly than the staff at Cody's.

Prices for used books are comparable to those at Moe's, higher than the used bookstores on Solano Avenue, fruther north (through the tunnel).

PROS: readings, inventory, staff
CONS: no bargains

4
★★★★☆

Black Oaks draws the biggest-name authors for its reading series. It has a reasonable selection of new books (though not competitive with Cody's) and the array of academic and literary books of a premiere college town used book store (competitive with Moe's).

The staff does not have the surly, condescending "Perhaps I might deign to ring up your purchases" attitude of the staff at Moe's. They seem knowledgeable, if less friendly than the staff at Cody's.

Prices for used books are comparable to those at Moe's, higher than the used bookstores on Solano Avenue, fruther north (through the tunnel).

PROS: readings, inventory, staff
CONS: no bargains

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Editorial from

In Short
Black Oak is known throughout the nation as one of the best places to browse and enjoy books. The comfortable, well-apportioned store's selection is evenly divided between new and used volumes, and special rooms are…

 

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