A travel journal
to Riverside by Elli Metz
Quote: Where to find the best bookstores in and around the Riverside, CA area.
(items above will be elaborated upon, as soon as I get pictures.)
Attraction | "Ananda Books"
The store is priced moderately -- on the low end for accessories, cover price on new books. There is a used book section in the very back (near the table where they do "energy readings" and tarot readings), which is also moderately priced -- roughly half-price regardless of condition. (There are better places for used books in the city -- unless you find something you've always looked for and couldn't find elsewhere, find somewhere else to buy).
You're not going to find any best sellers here -- though a few of the more esoteric New York Times List titles have wound up on the shelves from time to time. Think self-help, with a crystal-waving flair, and you'll have it. I come here for the books on journal-keeping and the buddha statues, which are very reasonably priced (between $2 and $5, whereas for the same size elsewhere, I've seen up to $10).
Ananda's been around for a long time (over 20 years now). It was one of the first of its kind in this area, and maintains a standard of excelllence that is still very high. Other places might be cheaper, but where else are you going to be able to talk to an authentic witch about what incense to burn in your house?
Not many, I'd wager.
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on February 26, 2001
Ananda Books & Gifts
5225 Canyon Crest Drive
Riverside, California 92507
Attraction | "Imagine That!"
The selection here is pretty incredible. I found a book here that I used to love as a kid in the '70's that I didn't even remember the title to. I told the clerk what it was about and she led me to it without hesitation. The workers know their stuff. Prices are average, cover price on most items, but the selection makes it worth the cover cost.
IT! also carries a rather large selection of toys, including some of the best animal hand puppets I've ever seen, manufactured by a single company. They're expensive (up to $25 per puppet), but are made to stand up to small children AND can be thrown in the wash when they get all slobbered up.
I don't have children of my own -- I shop here for books for myself. Both the adult selection (which are meticulously picked for quality. You can literally pick up any book on the shelf and find it interesting.) and the children's books are intriguing and fun.
It will bring out the child in even the most mature of shoppers.
5225 Canyon Crest Drive
Riverside, California 92507
Don't get me wrong -- Pandora's has class. The two-story, mahogany staircase will easily convey that. As will the selections -- old books with history, new books ABOUT history, expensive books for people who take their reading very very seriously.
Prices are high, even for used books, the help is generally snobby (don't go in in sweats and a ponytail, or you won't get much help at alll, I found), and there wasn't that great of a selection when I was there. I didn't even bother going upstairs after one of the sales cllerks shadowed me like I was going to steal something, and I really wanted to go home, change, whip out a few hundreds and go "Pretty Woman" the salesclerk, but I refrained.
I wouldn't shop here again if my life depended on finding a book that ONLY they carried. There are too many friendly, helpful, reasonably priced bookstores in Riverside to waste your time being condescended to and sniffed at.
Member Rating 1 out of 5 on February 26, 2001
The prices are high (over half, for even the rattiest used books), and the quality generally low here. The buying program is one of the worst in town (not only do they give you maybe a dollar or two per book, but they also charge a fee for using your credit unless you buy something at full price along with it), and they generally look for books of a pagan bent or sci-fi, neither of which my collection generally includes.
The lady behind the counter wasn't rude, per se, but she was preoccupied with someone on the phone -- until she noticed that my aura wasn't quite right (it could indicate health problems, she was quick to note), and wanted to sell me an aura cleansing.
I have something like thirty dollars of credit left here, but I'd rather poke myself in the eye with a pencil than go back. From what I understand, the store is moving from its current location to a strip mall in Moreno Valley sometime soon. It's not a priority for me to find out where. Avoid this one if you've got things to sell or you want something other than new age books.
The Book Quest
Moreno Valley Mall
Downtowne Bookstore isn't my favorite of the used bookstores in Riverside -- its contents often vary in styles that aren't my own preference -- but it has a certain feel to it that makes it an interesting place to hang out and browse. Books are reasonably priced here, and the specialty (rare) books can still run you a small fortune. (They are gorgeous to look at, though.)
There are two levels -- an upstairs where many of the booksare arranged, dewey decimal system style, and the basement, where the real bargains are. Books in less pristine condition are down here, and I found an old Speedball lettering guide from the 1930's for less than $5 here. If your eyes and your wallet are open, you can find some great deals.
They will buy books occasionally from customers, though they will reject many to get the ones they want. They aim to be an antique bookstore, I believe, though it hasn't happened that way yet. Luckily for us.
Open nearly every day, Downtowne Bookstore is a nice way to kill an afternoon if you're downtown, and in the mood for some paperback reads or some antiquated leatherbound novels.
Member Rating 3 out of 5 on February 26, 2001
3582 Main Street
Riverside, California 92501