Anyway, Oakland has awesome independent bookstores!
While we once had a ginormous Barnes & Noble (that I do sort of miss just because of sheer selection), Oakland still has a great bunch of small, independent bookstores. Yeah, you can get stuff from the NY Times bestseller list. But you're more likely to come home with something lesser-known that the staff or owners of the bookstore recommended for you. Plus many of the bookstores do events like author readings.