Without books to hold onto, guideless tourists would wind up in back alley cockfights, and new presidents would have to swear into office with one hand in the air and the other on a yellowing Cathy comic. Tickle a book’s binding with today’s Groupon: for $10, you get $20 worth of used books at Black Oak Books in Berkeley.
Circulating the best used offerings of world literature, the shelves of Black Oak Books keep readers armed to the teeth with an omnibus of genre-spanning tomes. Black Oak's attentive booksellers steer bibliomaniacs through a labyrinth of lexicons, including mass-market paperbacks at half their cover price (around $2.50–$4.50), fiction and sci-fi books (around $6–$11, excluding special or first editions), and math reads to remind voracious bookworms what numbers look like. New York Times bestsellers and Newbery Medal & Honor winners frequent the book shelves, and children’s books ($2.50–$7) round out an expansive in-store collection with the vast majority of items costing under $30.
Like walking, talking card catalogs, the booksellers at Black Oak Books can alight a dog-eared path through science, parenting, poetry, and sexuality, as they unearth nearly every topic the brain-heart can conceive. With a vast LGBT section and a music area kitted out with blues and jazz, Black Oak's provides the reading material and soundtrack necessary to learn something new, or confirm a contentious Snapple fact. Black Oak's sleuth staff stands ready to detect a hard-to-find book at a moment’s notice. For the writerly lot, Black Oak Books stocks unique cards, journals, and stationery, perfect for penning passionate unauthorized autobiographies or sending eloquent rejection slips to rent-owing muses.
More than 15 Yelpers give Black Oak Books a 4.5-star average: