The Book Den Santa Barbara: A Storied History

The Book Den Santa Barbara is the oldest book store in Santa Barbara! This store has some interesting history, and it’s known for selling all kinds of books. From rare and collectible books to today’s bestsellers, you’ll find the books you’re searching for at The Book Den.

About the Book Den Santa Barbara

This Santa Barbara book store has a long and (pardon the pun) storied history. The Book Den first opened over eighty years ago. But its success story isn’t an easy one. In 1902, brothers Ernest and Thomas Angel opened the first Book Den in Oakland, California. However, the store quickly sold to Clarence Rowell, who ran the store until his death in 1926. It was then that Max Richter bought The Book Den and moved it to Santa Barbara.

Many years and owners later, The Book Den Santa Barbara found its current proprietors: Eric Kelley (owner), Michael Moore (new book buyer), and Joaquin Gray (used book buyer & IT). It is now the largest bookstore in Santa Barbara and expanded its inventory to include new books, so now it sells about 50/50 new and used books. You can read more about The Book Den’s history here.

What can I find here?

The Book Den Santa Barbara is the perfect place to find–among other things–your latest beach read. Santa Barbara is has beautiful beaches, and Marina Beach Motel is only 37 steps from the beach. So if you’re planning on getting some time in by the water, it’s always good to have a book to read while you’re there.

But if you’re not looking for a beach read, then feel free to browse their older and more rare collections. The Book Den is also known for carrying out of print books on a variety of subjects, as well as rare finds and used books.

They also buy books, so if you’ve got a book that you think meets their criteria, it might be worth bringing it along to see what you can get for it.


Monday – Saturday: 10:00 am – 6:00 pm

Sunday: 11:00 am – 5:00 pm


15 E. Anapamu St.
Santa Barbara, CA 93101
(805) 962-3321

What else can I do in Santa Barbara?

There is so much to do in Santa Barbara! Aside from being a great beach town, there are also plenty of incredible restaurants, fun shopping, outdoor activities, and so much more!

We recommend checking out our list of the top 10 Santa Barbara activities to get an idea of what the city has to offer.

Will you be in Santa Barbara soon?

We’d love to hear about your experience! You can follow us on Facebook and Instagram to stay up to date with Santa Barbara events and activities.