HomeCommunityA novel guide to bookstores on the Monterey Peninsula

A novel guide to bookstores on the Monterey Peninsula


Many profess that people are reading fewer books than they used to and that book-reading culture is dying with the technological boom of this age. For those who share this notion, there is still hope. The following are four of the most popular bookstores on the greater Monterey Peninsula that one should visit, to suppress the thaw of book culture in our society…or just to find a nice read.

Pilgrim’s Way Books (Dolores St. between 5th Ave. and 6th Ave.)

Often hailed as the last bookstore in Carmel, Pilgrim’s Way presents a cozy, homely place to scan bookshelves after a stroll through downtown. Offering selections ranging from classic literature to eastern spiritual/self-help books to popular fiction, this store is celebrating its 50th anniversary with pride and vigor, as it embodies the small, independent bookstore that any community would be lucky to have. They are also known for their Secret Garden next door, a spiritual jungle hidden in a nook of Dolores Street, perfect for meditating or inspiring awe.

River House Books (208 Crossroads Blvd.)

For being an independent bookstore, River House Books really gives the outward appearance of being a chain, as it sells only new books and has a minimalist logo design mirrored in the tidiness of the bookstore. This store has separate sections for fiction, history, philosophy/religion, mystery, children’s books, poetry and cookbooks, among others, providing what is arguably one of the most broad and expansive selections of brand new books in the peninsula.

Old Capitol Books (559 Tyler St.)

Out of all of the bookstores, this represents the most hipster joint on the Peninsula. This store not only offers one of the largest selections of John Steinbeck novels of the local bookstores (which is a feat, let me tell you), but also hosts various poetry workshops, concerts from local indie bands and theory and philosophy reading groups. Overall, this bookstore represents the epitome of book culture on the Peninsula and serves as a hub for independent-minded thinkers and readers.

The Bookworks (667 Lighthouse Ave.)

This Pacific Grove establishment, with its warm color palette and cozy atmosphere, would be a nice, small bookstore on its own, but what makes this store unique is that it is connected to a bustling coffee shop equal in size. Offering literature in greatest proportion, and smaller sections of children’s books and mystery novels on the side, this is a bookstore that surprisingly few people talk about in Carmel.

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