A fine used, new and rare book mecca stands 52 years strong

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BY CAROLE ROSNER

Fifty two years ago, a little store a block from Van Nuys Blvd. opened for business. It offered a variety of antiques, jewelry, Tiffany lamps and used books. Within a year, the used books became the focal point of the store, and today the books continue to draw people here from all over the city. This Saturday, August 7, and the first Saturday of every month,  is their Special Parking Lot Sale—$1.00 per book.

A signed pamphlet by Langston Hughes for $500.

Bargain Books in Van Nuys is the place “where you can browse for hours and hours and forget you are having company for dinner,” customer Jeri Pollyea said of her new favorite old bookstore. With over 200,000 books in stock, there’s something for every reader in this tiny shop.

Pieces de Theater from 1699

Books are separated by category and include areas devoted to Chess, Science, Art, Fashion, Film, Architecture and even the Titanic disaster. There’s a Lincoln Room, a War Room, books on the occult and tons of old cookbooks.

Siblings Bill Wirt and Diane Sharrar run Bargain Books. Photos: Carole Rosner

On my last trip I perused a leather bound first edition Mark Twain ($600), a signed pamphlet by Langston Hughes ($500) and a book of four French plays from 1699. A large selection of popular fiction books in hard and soft cover are half off the retailer’s price and popup books and miniature books take up many shelves. This is also a great place to bring in a student’s required reading list because Bargain Books has stacks of the classic novels that teachers love to assign for homework, and the price can’t be beat.

Books can be brought in for sale or trade from the public

Siblings Bill Wirt and Diane Sharrar took over the business from their parents thirty years ago and have watched the used book business in Los Angeles suffer terribly over the last few years. Sadly, L.A. has lost 41 used book stores in the past three years and only three still remain in the San Fernando Valley, Diane explained.

Bargain Books has stacks of the classic novels that teachers love to assign for homework, and the price can’t be beat

Discovering wonderful finds at these brick and mortar book stores is part of the fun, as is pondering the journey these old books have taken. Bill thinks about the history of his inventory at Bargain Books and asked, “How did some of these books survive? They’ve seen battles, world wars, and cities burned.”

Books can be brought in for sale or trade from the public. Each book is reviewed separately. The cash price for books varies and trade-in books get 30% more than the cash price.

Bargain Books 14426 Friar St. Van Nuys, CA 91401 Phone: 818.782.2782 www.bargainbooks-online.com Open: Tues.-Friday noon to 6pm Saturday 10am-5pm, Meters in front

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About Karen Young

Karen Young is the founder of My Daily Find.

  • http://www.jackiehouchin.com Jackie Houchin

    Thanks for the heads-up. I will definitely have to visit Bargain Books – especially on the first Saturday of the month. It’s great to see an Independent Book Store thriving, even if it’s mostly used books. Keep it up!

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