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3 Great Independent Bookstores in Sonoma County

Treehorn Books is an old-fashioned, big-city bookstore in Sonoma County.

Given the scope of Sonoma County’s resident book clubs — including a Food & Agricultural Book Club, Book & Brew Book Club, Hiker’s Book Club, and a Movie Book Club to name a few — it’s not surprising that you’ll find a number of independent bookstores to support their habits. Here are just three of the many grat independent bookstores that cater to a uniquely Sonoma County state of mind:

Many Rivers Books & Tea

I like to think of this not as a “Spiritual” bookstore but rather as a “Whole Self” bookstore. True, it was founded as a non-profit operation by Tayu Order Inc. a spiritual organization that has called Sonoma County home for nearly 40 years. So yes, there are books that span most philosophical, religious and spiritual traditions — everything from atheism to Zen Buddhism – but you’ll also find a well-curated collection of books on holistic health and natural food.

Which brings us to the tea portion of the shop. They offer close to 100 organic or sustainably grown teas, as well as teaware chosen to help you use tea as a way to foster a more peaceful, meditative spirit.

To further support your practice, they offer sacred art, candles, and items that lend the gentle resonance found in meditation bells and Tibetan bowls. Add to that the largest selection of globally-sourced incense in Sonoma County, including that which is created from the rare Black Styrax bark from Brazil, reputed to be associated with the essence of water and the moon. All worth investigation, especially if you time your visit to coincide with any of their monthly events:

Themed Tea Tasting: Third Saturday of each month, 2-3:30 p.m.

Tayu Meditation (open): Every Tuesday evening, 7:30-9 p.m.

Sebastopol Meeting of Friends (Quakers): Sunday morning, 10 a.m.

Democracy Cafe: Third Monday of each month, 7:30-9 p.m.

Many Rivers Books & Tea, 130 S. Main St., Suite 101, Sebastopol, 707-829-8871


Copperfield’s Books

This is a homegrown “brick & mortar” success story in an age of online bookstores. Copperfield’s began in Sebastopol in 1981, and currently includes a total of eight stores in Sonoma, Napa, and Marin counties.

The Sonoma County stores can be found in Healdsburg, Sebastopol, the Montgomery Village shopping center in Santa Rosa, and Petaluma. Each is distinctly different in their approach to what makes a bibliophile tick.

In the larger stores, you’ll find separate sections for new genres, including New Biography, New Hardback Science, New Fiction and New Non-Fiction. While you’re there, you might also want check out the “books that inspired new and upcoming movies” section as well as the engrossing, if eclectic, Staff Picks.

Copperfield’s in Sebastopol and Petaluma also have the largest, and most broadly curated, magazine selection in the county. One of the best-loved book collections is that of local authors and local history, as well as those books that outline the greatest bike and hiking trails in Sonoma County. The Petaluma store also has a wonderful “Underground” used and rare book section.

Among the unique gifts and games available are some magnificent, 16-foot Balinese kites in the shape of dragons, dragonflies, and other magical creatures – each of which were made to order directly from island craftsmen for Copperfield’s.

And finally, once you’ve found the perfect gift for those back home, don’t forget to include your favorite from their card collection created by local artists. One more thing: the Copperfield’s byline says, “Where authors and readers meet.” Author events are many and varied throughout the county. Check their website for details.

Copperfield’s Books Petaluma, 140 Kentucky St., Petaluma, 707-762-0563

Copperfield’s Books Sebastopol, 138 N. Main St., Sebastopol, 707-823-2618

Copperfield’s Books Healdsburg, 104 Matheson St., Healdsburg, 707-433-9270

Copperfield’s Books Montgomery Village, 775 Village Court, Santa Rosa, 707-578-8938


Treehorn Books

This is an old-fashioned, big-city bookstore. Think 84 Charing Cross Road variety. You’ll find floor-to-ceiling bookshelves, stools for reading, and the kind of sturdy but ancient library ladders currently featured as cool loft furnishings in high-end “restoration” stores.

Treehorn Books was founded in 1979 by two college friends who wanted to offer everything from rare antiquarian books to quality editions of more modern literature. Grant, the son of one of the founders, minds the shop today.

If you’re seeking out-of-print, collectible, signed, or other precious books this would be your first stop, especially the Rare Book Room. It’s an adventure in its own right, but unfortunately only open by appointment or request.

As much as 98 percent of the other books in this store are “used” and many — possibly the vast majority of them — are classic hardcovers with Mylar type jacket protectors. English not your first language? You’ll also find books in French, German, Spanish and Italian.

Actually, you would be hard pressed to NOT come out from between the shelves without a beloved “new” old book in hand. Best of all, Treehorn Books is near wonderful restaurants in the town square – including The Pullman Kitchen (205 Fifth St., Santa Rosa, 707-545-4300) and Sprenger’s Tap Room (446 B St., Santa Rosa, 707-544-8277).

Treehorn is open from 10 a.m. until well into the night — 9:30 p.m. in fact, which means it’s possible to stop by after strolling the square, and having drinks and dinner. As one customer, Sam, said to me “This place is an incredible adventure in the written word.” And just as a point of interest, he showed me his favorite reading spot, right in the back of the store. It’s a place of peace and deep silence where a person who loves books could sit quietly pouring over their latest finds for hours.

Treehorn Books, 625 Fourth St., Santa Rosa, 707-525-1782 

For more options, check our listings of Sonoma County Book and Music Stores.

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