Best of the Bay 2013: BEST BOOKS FOR THE BROKE

These are the facts: Reading is cool, books are rad, free books are even radder, and the best combo of all of these is the Bay Area Free Book Exchange. At any given moment, the space — run cooperatively by a cadre of indie booksellers and printed-page junkies — houses some 10,000 books, all free for the taking. (“It’s like an ever-changing treasure hunt among thousands of books,” its website declares, and we have to agree.) Since opening in May 2009, the Exchange has given away over 350,000 books during its weekend hours, with an ultimate goal of handing out a million, and beyond! Since it survives on donations, consider adding your own previously-read tomes to the stacks proudly bearing this stamp: “Not for Resale, This is a Free Book.”

10520 San Pablo, El Cerrito. (510) 705-1200,