Bart’s Books (Ojai, California)
Not all books are kept cooped up in stuffy rooms. At the corner of West Matilija St. and Canada St. in Ojai, California, a labyrinth of bookcases can be seen stretching out from beneath the shade of a tin roof.
What once began as a man’s way of sharing his excess of books with his community now makes up the largest open-air bookstore in the world. Despite toting a collection nearing one million books, this store chooses to operate on the honor system, allowing patrons to simply select what they’re interested in and leave payment of their own volition.
The Jimbocho Neighborhood (Tokyo, Japan)
Whereas the previous locations are no more than single buildings or confined areas, Tokyo’s Jimbocho neighborhood boasts more used bookstores than any other location in Japan. This mecca of used books didn’t have an easy start, however. After a fire wiped out the neighborhood in 1913, a fresh crop of publishing houses—followed by its famous bookstores—made the area a paradise for writers and artists from all over Japan.
While the majority of these shops carry books that are written strictly in Japanese, there are numerous shops that specialize in foreign titles—mainly English—that are priced rather cheap.