Wednesday, November 16, 2011

San Francisco Bookstores — Books In Other Languages

Many of the more interesting bookstores carry books in languages other than English. For example, as previously reported, Modern Times in the Mission has a great selection of books in Spanish as part of its offering. However, there are also independent bookstores in the City that specialize in books in languages other than English.

You want a book by a Russian, written in its original language? Prepare for a visit to the Inner Richmond, where you will find Globus, a small, pleasantly crowded bookstore featuring new, out-of-print as well as rare and antiquarian books in Russian. The store resides in a small business district with an interesting assortment of shops and restaurants.

332 Balboa Street, (415) 668-4723,

The European Bookstore is what its name suggests, a place to go for books, magazines and other items in various, mostly European languages. While the Larkin Street entrance might be a little off-putting, the inside of the store is quite the opposite. The staff is welcoming but not intrusive. You are free to wander among the European classics — primarily in the original French, German and Spanish. The two-story, one-of-a-kind bookstore is open on Mondays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. The location is a couple of blocks from the interesting restaurants in the neighborhood now known as Little Saigon.

925 Larkin Street, (415) 474-0626,

Eastwind, much like its Japanese counterpart, Kinokuniya in Japantown, has more than one store in the U.S. There is a store in Los Angeles as well. And also, like its Japanese counterpart, this Chinese bookshop has a broad selection of titles in many areas — politics, poetry, philosophy, language, cooking, music, fiction and non-fiction. They also feature books about other Asian cultures. The store is below street level and can be easily overlooked on busy Stockton, where all things Italian meet all things Chinese. In addition, the store has a selection of CDs, DVDs, comics, and musical instruments and calligraphy supplies. They are located between San Francisco’s equally legendary North Beach and Chinatown. The choice of restaurants and shops in the area is dizzying.

1435 Stockton Street, (415) 772-5888,

Pacific Book Arts is located in the City’s other Chinatown. In fact it is in the very heart of bustling Clement Street. If you want to read the new Steve Jobs bio in Chinese, this is the place to go. Besides books in Chinese on all subjects, they have a strong and interesting collection of calligraphy supplies. Just as in Old Chinatown, there is no shortage of interesting shops and restaurants in this part of the Inner Richmond. The store, a couple of steps down off the street, is right next to the Green Apple Annex.

524 Clement Street, (415) 751-2238

One of the few, if not only stores of its kind in the U.S., Arkipelago, the Filipino bookstore, offers a fine collection of books about and by Filipino writers. It also acts as publisher for many emerging Filipino writers. In addition to its specialty bookstore status, and its support for Pinoy writers and artists, Arkipelago provides resources for educational institutions and libraries to learn about the Filipino culture and they host events of interest to people interested in that community.

1010 Mission Street, (415) 553-8185,

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