Used Bookstore Review: Camelot Books, Fountain Valley, CA

I went to Camelot Books on two recommendations when I mentioned I was on the hunt for used copies of the Anne of Green Gables series. Yes, they were easy to find new, but what can I say, I was on the cheap because having read the first, the signature book, I had to have them all…now.

Camelot BooksWalking in I encountered the controlled chaos that marks many used bookstores: an over-abundance of books and not enough shelf space. But this doesn’t bother me. Looking at boxes of unpacked books lining the carpet between the shelves and knowing there are treasures inside, is like the anticipation of birthday presents, so too, do I have to be patient with these boxes.

I found the complete series of Anne books, as well as the first of the Emily (Emily of New Moon) series. Noting, too, this large classics section, I started to browse and I have been browsing and buying ever since. There is a full room of modern fiction, sci fi and mystery and other rooms that run the gamut of subjects from history to etiquette to psychology to cookbooks. There is also a very-well stocked children’s section.Camelotchildrens.jpegYou know the owners and clerks know their merchandise when you overhear, “I believe I have seen that in various forms. Do you want the hard cover, mass market or trade size?” Another reason why not being able to get into those boxes of books shouldn’t be discouraging. Just ask!

At Camelot Books, the prices are low and there are sales several times a year.[i] While I would say their strength is their fiction sections, the breadth of subjects is great. You will often find what you came for, but you might discover something unintended. And that surprise of finding something you didn’t know you needed and how important to you it has now become is one of the particular joys a trip to a used bookstore can bring.

One of my best finds to date was Joanne Greenberg’s, The King’s Persons, based on the massacrekingspersons.jpeg of the Jews of York in 1190. I was doing work on the topic and wanted to see how someone fictionalized it. Published in 1961, I’d heard of it, but it was very hard to find. One day I walked into Bluestocking Books in San Diego, CA, quite innocently browsing, when the title caught my eye!

What treasure have you found in a used bookstore that changed or enhanced your life?


Camelot Books Halloween display.
A wonderful time of year to be in a used bookstore!


18838 Brookhurst St.
Fountain Valley,  Ca  92708
(714) 963-3122

From the 405 in Orange County, take Brookhurst St. and go south about a mile.

[i] The next sidewalk sale is Saturday, September 26th!

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