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There's no bookstore on earth quite like Bart's Books. Located in Ojai, California, it is the world's largest outdoor bookstore, with a stunning collection of over 130,000 books that encompasses every genre and interest a reader can hope for. A longtime staple of the community, beloved for its altruistic approach to book sharing, Bart's Books is a rare gem that is worth the day trip to peruse the indoor and outdoor shelves. Bookworms are sure to find what they are looking for--a great read and a unique experience.


For Californians looking to plan a special day trip, or more distant adventurers traveling here to experience Ojai's unmatched beauty, here are all the important details on this iconic bookstore that inspires book lovers to this day.

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Bart's Books: A Charming Outdoor Bookstore

Bart's Books was founded in 1964 by Richard Bartindale. This beloved bookstore all began with his wonderfully excessive book collection. Bartindale had admired the way he could browse outdoor book carts while in Paris and decided to try something similar at home. What started as a series of outdoor bookcases along the sidewalk outside his home quickly caught the attention of his neighbors and the wider community. There was no cash register to be found, as Bartindale entrusted the honor system instead by placing coffee cans on the bookcases for people to pay for their books. With the outdoor stacked bookshelves came curious neighbors perusing them and dropping money into coffee cans, and thus, Bart's Books was born.

From A Neighborhood Staple To A World Renowned Bookstore

Although Bartindale has since passed on, his outdoor bookshelves quickly expanded into a full-fledged outdoor bookstore. The inside of Bartindale's home has been transformed to carry books in every room and even throughout the hallways. The kitchen is filled with recipe books; the hallway is devoted to Shakespeare. What started as one man's overwhelming book collection has grown into a bookstore with 130,000 new and used books. And not only is there a wide range of interests and genres, but there is something to fit every budget. From 50-cent books to extremely rare out-of-print first editions, as well unusual art books for collectors, Bart's Books truly has something for everyone.

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There have been tv specials and documentaries on Bart's Books and its enduring trust in the honor system. Locals in Ojai say it inspires them to know that people will pay for something of value not because someone is watching but because it is simply the right thing to do.

Bart's Books: When To Go

When visiting Bart's Books, make sure to give yourself plenty of time to peruse the indoor and outdoor shelves. After all, this outdoor bookstore's motto is "Everything under the sun" for a reason. Visitors often feel as if they are walking through a book labyrinth. It is open seven days a week--rain or shine--from 10 am to 6 pm. However, the outdoor bookshelves are available to pore over 24 hours a day. This is where readers can find the now 50-cent specials, and instead of coffee cans, buyers can leave their payments through a slot in the door. And for those looking to unload their own book collection that is in good condition, they offer detailed instructions here on how to trade or sell used books to them.

Take Your Books And Explore Ojai, California

To truly enjoy spending a day at the bookshop, readers should plan to bring their purchases to a quiet spot in Ojai and do what the founder of Bart's Books intended: spend a day outdoors reading! As a relatively small city in Ventura County, which is northwest of Los Angeles, Ojai has a quaint village with lots of cafés and art galleries. There are no chain stores in this homespun, eclectic town (the town actually bans chain stores here). Famous for its local produce, visitors who can make the trip on a Sunday will see the fantastic farmer's market with its organic fruits and vegetables that can are often scooped up by local chefs and served in many of the restaurants here. There are plenty of spa and wellness centers here as well, though it may be hard to turn the pages of a book while getting a Swedish massage.

Bart's Books Will Inspire You To Come Back

It is simply impossible to explore all the books and all the many nooks and crannies of this delightfully unique bookstore in just one day. Visitors should give themselves plenty of time to explore--but, with 130,000 books on the shelves, they should expect to want to come back time and time again. With a little bit of everything, a relaxed vibe to expand your literary palette, and an honor system to restore your faith in humanity, Bart's Books will stay with you long after you drop your change into the payment slots and walk off with your newfound treasures.