Hi! I’m Emma.

I am a writer and avid reader capturing the world’s best independent bookstores

Feel free to join me, grab a cup of coffee & stay a while…

Dog Eared Books

Dog Eared Books

Owner: Kate Rosenberger

Founded: 1992


From best sellers to small press titles, Dog Eared Books has the best, and one of the largest, selections of LBGT+ books anywhere. This bookstore is located on Castro St., San Francisco, a famous and historical street, which hosts multiple pride festivals and parades each year.

One of my best friends in the whole world, Trevor Chong, lives in San Francisco. The first time I ever visited him was my sophomore year of college during winter break. He drove me around the city to Golden State Park, Palace of the Arts, Twin Peaks, Haight Street, and many more classic San Francisco spots. One of my favorite places ended up being a small, very colorful street called Castro. It was right next to Dolores park, where we went to read our purchases from Dog Eared Books.

Dog Eared Books is filled with colorful art displays, including art for sale. The storefront is a bright mint green and inside are retro black and white tile floors with modern lighting and different shaped display tables. Outside, they have a selection of used books, which are definitely worth picking through- you never know what you can find.

I was fortunate enough to speak with Alvin Orloff, manager of Dog Eared Books, who has been working for Kate’s bookstores since 1999. I asked him about the history of the store, as well as his role in acquiring the store’s collection. Whether at book expos or fairs, I imagine it is difficult to choose what to buy and mostly to limit one’s choices. He agreed that self-restraint is necessary part of the job.

I asked Alvin what his favorite parts of working in a bookshop are, and he gave me two answers:

1. Exposure to different books- unless your working in university, this is the job that most closely puts you into that world. 

2. Talking to people about books- what is more exciting than book chatting all day?


Castro street was started by activist Harvey Milk in 1974. It was a place for cultural revolution, gay rights and activism. About a decade later, Kate Rosenberger started a small bookshop called Phoenix Books, which moved to Valencia Street and then to Castro in 2016.

Before Dog Eared Books occupied the space, a small bookstore called Different Light Books lived there. This bookstore was also an important center of queer social life during a difficult time. In the 1980’s every recognized queer author and activist was reading or signing books at Different Light. All the big names gravitated there. And although it closed, Dog Eared Books continues its legacy of housing the best selection of LBGT+ authors and remains a thriving center for activism.



Other than housing one of the best and largest collections of LGBT+ literature, Dog Eared Books also sells small gifts, local art, and has many great events including book signing and author reading events. Check their website below to follow the event list!

From activists and authors such as Mark Thompson to Rita Mae Brown, there is always an exciting next read on the front tables or on the back shelves!


If you are on Castro Street, you would be doing yourself a diservice if you didn’t stop by Hot Cookie. Alexander's Patisserie has amazing pastries as well.

Used Books:

Rare Books:

Sell Books:




Website: http://www.dogearedbooks.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DogEaredBooksSF


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