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Second-hand cookbooks?

I am vacationing in SF in a couple of weeks and would like to expand my cookbook collection on the cheap. Can anyone tell me a great second hand bookstore in the city that either specialises in cookbooks or has a good selection?

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  1. Try

    Green Apple Books
    506 Clement Street
    San Francisco, CA 94118
    Main Store Phone: 415.387.2272
    Main Store Hours:
    Sunday - Thursday 10 am-10:30 pm
    Friday and Saturday: 10 am to 11:30 pm


    6 Replies
    1. re: Nancy Berry

      The walls of Green Apple are FILLED with cookbooks...but the best thing about it is.. it's on Clement Street! A street filled with great places to eat.....search "Clement" st. and you'll have a alot to read!
      Enjoy your stay...!

      1. re: ChowFun_derek

        I'll 3rd or 4th Green Apple. It has a large selection.

        As for what's available...like anything decent or worth keeping, it rarely makes it to second hand stores or if it does, it's picked up pretty quickly. However the odds of finding something decent are increased by volume.

        1. re: ML8000

          Most of Green Apple's cookbooks look to be remainders, not secondhand.

      2. re: Nancy Berry

        Hi - this place sounds great but I can't find it on a map, and the website doesn't seem to have directions. Can you tell me the cross-street and which neighburhood it's in? Thanks

        1. re: claireh

          Well, I'll do it for her.

          It's in the Inner Richmond, and it's between 6th and 7th Ave. Enter the street address without business name into Google Maps, and you should get a clear location.

          I concur with the assessments about both the store and the neighborhood, although I must confess I'm not one for cookbooks, so I've no opinion in that area. As a general literary recommendation, check out the tables out front, which have their discarded books. I've found some gems in there for quite cheap. Recent stuff, too.

      3. I'm not sure I've ever found a cookbook I wanted and didn't already have at Green Apple. Lots of remainderish stuff.

        A significant fraction of my cookbooks came from Aardvark, 227 Church St. near Market.

        More came from Moe's, worth the BART ride to Berkeley. 2476 Telegraph.

        Cookin' at 339 Divisadero St. in SF is mostly a used cookware store but they have a wall of books.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Robert Lauriston

          It's lots of fun to browse around Cookin', but the prices are pretty steep. Don't know about their book prices.

          Moes on Telegraph Avenue in Berkeley has always had a great used cookbook section.

          1. re: oakjoan

            I agree that Cookin' (on Divisadero in SF) has steep pricing...but, the used cookbooks are priced reasonably...by title...if it's not in demand, it's cheaper.

        2. If you end up in Mountain View, the Book Buyers on Castro St. used to have a mix of used cookbooks, from Julia Child to vintage community. I haven't checked for a couple of years now, perhaps give a call before heading out if you aren't otherwise visiting the Peninsula.

          1. I've had good luck at these places:

            Green Apple
            Black Oak Books on Irving Street
            Forever After Books on Haight Street
            Chelsea Bookstore, Irving Street (the best, but sadly now closed)

            1. Black Oak in Berkeley has a pretty good sense of what sells and their prices are high as a result. They have a good number of collector 1st editions ($50 - $70) - I've never been that obsessed. Yes to Moe's on Telegraph.

              Powell's in Portland has a well stocked used cookbook inventory and a good website. Not quite as fun as finding a book in person, but if you've got a title list....

              1 Reply
              1. re: Karl Gerstenberger

                Powell's, in Portland, actually has a Store just for Cooking & Gardening on E. Hawthorne. Really nice.

              2. For a lot of reasons I prefer Aardvark over Green Apple. If you want to support a new Bookstore that is an old independent SF institution with a great selection try Stacey's on Market near second/New Montgomery.

                2 Replies
                1. re: niki rothman

                  The OP said "second hand books". To my knowledge Stacey's does not sell used books. Has that changed in the recent past?

                  1. re: larochelle

                    Oh, I know - but often someone wants a particular book and their tolerance for searching live & in person wanes. That's why I mentioned Stacey's because it is one of those quintessential SF places that we want to support.

                2. I recently discovered a bookstore that has a lot of cookbooks, a wall filled with them. It's called Russian Hill Bookstore and it's location on Polk. I can't remember the corss street but it's by Union, Broadway, that area.

                  If you want to stock up this weekend, go to the Big Book Sale (Friends of San Francisco Library annual event) at Fort Mason. It's on for today (9/30) from 10am to 8pm and Sunday (10/1) from 10am to 6pm. On Sunday, all books are $1 or less. I won't be able to make it this year, but have always had luck finding at least a few cookbooks at great prices.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: anna

                    The Russian Hill Bookstore is located on Polk St., between Green and Union.

                  2. Been buying used and antiquarian (i.e., first edition) books for years. For more rare, hard-to-find (i.e., older) books, Aardvark can't be beat. Green Apple is great for relatively new books that are already discounted (was there two days ago and picked up used half-price copies of 'The Big Oyster' by Kurlansky and 'The People's Chef, The Culknary Revolution of Alexis Soyer' by Brandon; both new books).

                    I would rate Black Oak as having a similar selection as Green Apple with significantly higher prices (I bought a terrine book here for $60 which Green Apple CURRENTLY has for $25), although they have some rarer titles.

                    1. If you go down to Palo Alto try Bell's Books.

                      1. I opened a thread on Home Cooking to discuss mail-order:


                        1. Wow, thanks everyone for the great suggestions. I am so excited about trawling around some of these places.
                          I appreciate the feedback - this site is brilliant!

                          1. Just in case it hasn't been mentioned, the Book Store at Fort Mason has a fairly good selection of used cook books at great prices.