Thursday, August 28, 2014

Bart's Books - Ojai, CA

Bart's Books - Ojai, CA

Regular readers know that I've mentioned how unique each independent bookstore is that I visit.  Bart's Books in Ojai, CA (pronounced oh-hi) takes uniqueness to a whole new level.  None of the indies I've visited so far can touch this place.  It's been labeled the outdoor bookstore.  Look at the pictures below and you'll see what I mean.  A couple of outdoor courtyards, no roofs, outdoor furniture, and Southern California weather.  Palm trees growing "inside" and bicycles parked "inside."  How cool is this?!  They have a cat here but if you have allergies don't worry, you're outside!  And room upon room of books.

This bookstore has been around for 50 years and was originally started by Richard "Bart" Bartindale.  He started selling books from his house at this current location and it continued to grow from that point.  The house is now the bookstore, inside and out.  Truthfully, there are lots of books outside and lots of indoor rooms filled with books.  This store is almost entirely used books but have recently started selling some new books as well.  In this town of approximately 8000, there are no other competitors so the new books sales fill a void.  They also have used CDs and DVDs for sale but aren't active in buying those back.  The store takes in books three days a week or by appointment and this flow of inventory is outstanding.  There is no computer inventory because of the volume of intake and turnover.  No matter your reading preference, they have all interests covered here at Bart's.

I was disappointed on my visit that the owner Matt H. wasn't available but I got to meet two of his great staffers, Annetka and Dylan.  They were busy on this day but were still able to take time to visit with me about the store, its history, and the community.  Like many indies, this one enjoys great local support as well as some tourist traffic.  This is yet another example of a great indie I've never heard of.  Didn't know about it until a day before my visit when Katie O., the manager at The Last Bookstore, said I need to check out Bart's Books in Ojai.  These indie people continue to give me more than just book recommendations, they send me to competitors!  A true sisterhood and brotherhood of these passionate bookstore people.

But IndieBob, if the place is outside, what happens in bad weather?  Well Dorothy, this isn't Kansas.  Or Iowa.  Yes, a lot of the books are outside but on the rare day when it does rain it usually comes straight down with little or no wind.  There is just enough overhang that the books are protected.

But IndieBob, what if Bart's is closed and I just have to get a book?  Many books are shelved outside the "outside", right along the sidewalk for crying out loud!  So anytime day or night, pick out a book and throw your two quarters under the door.  So readers in Ojai and all my readers who will eventually visit Bart's, you now have no excuses.  Go to an indie and buy a book.  Bonsoir.

CURRENTLY READING:  Monsieur Le Commandant, Romain Slocombe.  WWII in Paris.  Not liking it.  Wasn't recommended by anyone, I just picked it out.  That will teach me.  I may jump out before finishing.  Plenty in my pile waiting their turn.  But hey, we're all different so someone out there might like this.  

RECENTLY PURCHASED:  Love And Shame And Love, Peter Orner.

Bart's Books from across the street.  Notice the bookshelves outside.  These books are there and available any time.  

Outside of Bart's Books with books on the outside.  You can get one any time, day or night.  

An outside bookshelf.  

Buying one of the outside books and Bart's is closed?  Follow these directions   

This is the view from "inside" Bart's Books.  

Inside Bart's Books.  Enjoy a book and the great weather.  

Another view from inside Bart's Books.  

Lots of inventory here.  

There are also aisles of books in the several rooms.  

One of the many rooms with books.  

From inside the bookstore.  

If you must sit totally inside, here's your chair.  

Another independent bookstore cat hard at work.  

This is the café in Bart's Books.  

Incoming books waiting to find a home on the shelves.  

This was the garage part of the original house.  Great collection of art books in this area.  

L-R, yours truly, Anneke, and Dylan.  You guys were super.  Thanks for a great visit.  

Another view of Bart's from across the street.  

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