In the age of eBooks, Amazon, and Audible, finding great books has never been easier. But eBooks don’t look impressive on a shelf, Audible membership can be a bit pricey, and Amazon’s books just don’t have that nostalgic old-paper smell.

Used bookstores are more important now than they’ve ever been, helping preserve hidden gems too small for big publishers to keep in circulation and fostering a love of reading and discovery. Here are a few of our favorite spots near Irvine to find that next amazing read.


Nearly thirty years old, Bookman is an Orange County institution. The brick-and-mortar book-lover’s paradise recently made headlines when it completed the monumental task of moving nearly 300,000 books to its new location in town, but for the most part has been a quiet, but durable part of the Orange community. Its massive selection ensures readers of all stripes will find something to love, while quiet reading spots nestled throughout the store make the browsing experience that much more special.

A Whale of a Tale

Everyone can benefit from taking the time to enjoy a good read, but nobody benefits more than children. Maybe that’s why A Whale of a Tale remains one of the most charming places in Irvine to browse for a new story. While most used bookstores have children’s sections, A Whale of a Tale is purpose-built to introduce children to the wonders of reading. On top of a great selection, the bookstore also features regular events geared towards children, ranging from visits to nearby schools to readings by authors like J. K. Rowling.

Camelot Books

Camelot the castle was said to be nearly twice the size of any other castle in the land. Camelot Books isn’t quite that big, but at 4,400 square feet, it’s got more than enough space to be one of the most impressive used bookstores in Fountain Valley. A vast selection of used books, steep discounts on new ones, and plenty of seasonal events are all great reasons to give Camelot Books a visit, but we’d be remiss to leave out the resident cat! Lucy proves that anything bodega cats can do, bookstore cats can do better.

We’re going to get started on our backlog of books. How about you? Did we forget one of the Irvine area’s best used bookstores? Let us know on Facebook or Instagram. Don’t forget to keep an eye on our blog for more of the best of Orange County!