Once a locals-only secret hidden in the basement of an oak-shaded city library in Agoura Hills, the Book Cellar has become a go-to used bookstore set in gorgeous countryside at the end of a perfect morning drive. Snap up trade literary novels, hardback biographies, cool old how-tos and niche cookbooks, priced at 50 cents for paperbacks and $1 for hardcovers (some specialty books might be $2). Run by volunteers who keep up a friendly banter, this cozy shop has sold 1.9 million volumes in two decades, with all proceeds going to the library and a prisoner reading program. Manager Diane Haupt and her top assistant, husband Eric, collect books from donors who “are extremely well-read,” Eric notes. If you don't buy it when you see it, chances are it'll be gone by the next Saturday — and that's the only day they're open. With Goodwill killing small used-book sellers, this one deserves to survive — and not just because of the free cookies.
Credit: N. Jenssen