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Best Bookstore for New Books 

The Booksmith

An extremely cool staff who can help you find almost any book in print is one of the best reasons to shop at the Booksmith -- especially when you've dealt with the vacant stares or out-and-out rudeness of the employees at your local chain bookstore one too many times. The Booksmith has been a Haight-Ashbury fixture since 1976, and hosts a huge number of some of the city's most interesting readings and author appearances -- Timothy Leary, Allen Ginsberg, James Elroy, and Isabelle Allende have all stopped off here. (The store publishes its own line of author trading cards featuring those who've read there.) A few years back, the Booksmith also hosted a wedding, and in 1994 science fiction author Harlan Ellison famously wrote a short story while sitting in its front window. If you so desire, you can even buy books at the Booksmith's Web site -- its database includes more than a million titles -- though why you'd want to when you can visit the store is beyond us.


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