You’ll find one of the most unique and charming bookstores in the small town of Ojai, California. Bart’s Books is one of the largest outdoor and independently owned bookstores in the world and has been a staple in the Ojai community since 1964 when it was founded by Richard “Bart” Bartinsdale.
It has an extremely original concept: “books for everyone, under the sun”. At the center of Bart’s Books is an open air courtyard surrounded by a maze of shelves that are filled with over 130,000 books. Most of them are used, collected from book trades or donations. You’ll definitely find one of a kind readings about any topic possible.
Bart’s Books also uses a converted house with a kitchen and living room. It’s fitting that the cookbook section was found in the kitchen. Typical bookstores can be unexciting, however you can’t help but explore around Bart’s. There are probably ultra rare editions that you can only find here.
Another cool thing about Bart’s was the shelves that ran along the outside of the building where books can still be purchased when the store is closed. All you do is just leave the money in a metal box on the front door for the amount that’s marked on the book. What an honor system! Supposedly Bart’s collection had gotten so big that he built the bookcases along the sidewalk so that passersbyers could also browse.
Address: 302 W Matlija St, Ojai, CA 93023
Hours of operation: 10 AM-6 PM every day
Parking: Since it is in a residential neighborhood, there are plenty of street parking around
- Due to COVID-19, they’re only letting a certain amount of people at a time to avoid overcrowding, so be prepared to wait in line.
- The bookstore was a lot bigger than I expected so you can easily spend a lot of time here and not know it.