Even in literary-rich San Francisco, it's harder and harder to find a decent bookstore. We've lost Cody's, Stacey's, and A Clean Well-Lighted Place for Books, and even corporate giant Borders has gone bankrupt. When the great 31-year-old establishment Booksmith changed ownership in 2007, we thought, as with many other businesses on Haight, it would lose its homegrown charm. Instead, it got even better. The new owners gutted the clogged entranceway, feng shui-ed the interior, and gave it a cool Victorian steampunk black-and-teal paint job. They expanded the imported magazine and independent zine section, added to the graphic novel and lowbrow art areas, created green living and sustainability shelves, and removed the locked glass around the arty sex books. The knowledgeable staffers place handwritten recommendations next to books they love, and with more than 200 in-store author readings a year, Booksmith is more of a literary mecca than ever.
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