Are you tired of the same old bookstore chains? Have you read enough “New York Times Best-Sellers” to make your eyes go dry? Try something new. Get lost in the shelves of Pasadena’s independent bookstores. You’ll find everything from leather-bound literary classics, to Gutenberg and Einstein originals. Many bookshops also have author-signed, first edition copies of undiscovered and underrated novels, comics and memoirs. You may just see your own book on the shelves one day!
Vroman’s Bookstore is a massive, two-story, book lovers haven. Beloved by Pasadena locals, Vroman’s is the oldest and largest independent bookstore in Southern California. The first floor includes its own cafe and is soon to get its own wine bar. Shoppers will find stationery supplies, best sellers, and a variety of literary genres and gifts on the first floor, while the second floor houses children’s books and enrichment activity kits, cards and more gifts, as well as an area where host guest authors go for signings and panels.
The Battery Books and Music is located on Los Robles Avenue, between Old Pasadena and the Playhouse District, making it a great location for bookworms in either area to get to. The used bookstore’s inventory is always changing and treasure hunters can discover some great finds as they search through the aisles of literary classics, collectibles, historic and vintage children’s book, and vinyl records.
Whitmore Rare Books
If you’re an antique book collector and are traveling through Old Pasadena, Whitmore is not one to miss. The owner, Dan Whitmore, has a passion for rare books and constantly travels the country to find first edition rare manuscripts signed by the author and collectors editions of literature, philosophy, science, and history books. Stop by the retail shop and speak with the staff to find beautiful gift ideas and new arrivals. Can’t make it out to Pasadena? Whitmore Rare Books also takes their store on the road to rare book trade shows.
Pasadena Antique Mall
Though it specializes in all antiques, there is an entire section on the first floor of the Pasadena Antique Mall dedicated to reselling used, antique books with leather-bound covers and golden embellishments. Those who enjoy scavenging will love sifting through the many bins and shelves full of vintage editions of literary classics, vinyl records, and more.
Book Alley is another one of Pasadena’s used bookstores that includes over 50,000 titles ranging from dollar deals to high end collectibles. They’re open seven days a week and include subjects like architecture, cooking, education, fiction, history, medicine, poetry, and more.
Century Books is a quaint independent bookstore with an adorable store front and old-fashioned feel that offers a variety of new and used books. It comes as no surprise that the knowledgeable staff will welcome you in with open arms and assist you with any questions, as well as offer you a seat in the reading area. The little gem also has jazz nights where invited artists play music while patrons read lending to a truly relaxing atmosphere for page turning.
Located a block away from Pasadena City College, Comics Factory is a great place for the millennial comic collector. The shop includes aisle upon aisles of comic books, graphic novels and manga, collectible items, action figures, posters, and more. It’ll get any enthusiast in the mood for Comic Con!
Collector’s Paradise truly lives up to its name with its huge discounts for book club members on comic books, graphic novels, art prints, and event signings. Non-book club members can still find exactly what their collector-hearts desire including FUNKO POPs, figures, memorabilia, and more thanks to the store’s well-organized inventory sorted by creative studio, brand, and genre.
P Dot’s Comics and Collectibles
P Dot’s Comics and Collectibles is an independent shop that offers new and old comics in the North Lake Avenue area of Pasadena. Walking in, you will see bins filled with collectible comics and featured items displayed on the walls. P Dot’s also gives you a heads up on signed memorabilia and inventory updates on their Instagram account. Best of all, you can also find them at major conventions like San Diego Comic Con and more. They also participate in Free Comic Book Day, so mark your calendars!
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