Must-Visit Used Book Stores in San Diego

If you have a little time and like quaint adventure, there are many used book stores in San Diego. Not only do you get to stroll the streets of this beautiful city: you may even find buried treasure or a hidden gem.

Artifact Books

Storefront of Artifact Books, a well-known used book store in San Diego

Address: 603 S Coast Highway 101, Encenitas
Store Hours: Monday-Saturday: 10:30am-5:30pm, Sunday: 10:30am-3:30pm 
Website:  www.artifactrarebooks.com 

Artifact Books’ owner, Greg Mollin, had just turned his lifelong passion for books into a new bookstore when Covid shutdowns hit. Shortly after things opened back up, he underwent a year-long course of cancer treatment. Happily, Greg pulled through, and today Artifact Books continue to draw a stream of delighted customers. 

 The store offers new, used, rare, vintage, first editions, bestsellers, and signed copies across different genres. Aside from selling used books, you can also trade books or ask Artifact Books to find a novel for you. 

Maxwell’s House of Books

Maxwell's House of Books' storefront

Address: 8285 La Mesa Blvd, La Mesa
Store Hours: Tuesday-Saturday:11am-5pm, Sunday-12nn-4pm
Website: www.maxwellshouseofbooks.com 

 As if making the Huffington Post Top 50 Indie Bookstores in 2017 list wasn’t enough, Maxwell’s roots are illustrious. Owner/proprietor Craig Maxwell learned the trade from his grandfather, owner of what was San Diego’s largest bookstore for many years.

Maxwell’s House of Books, which Craig founded in 2003, carries all genre fiction. Want to discover new books? You will be happy to know that their inventory constantly changes and they offer a discount for bulk purchases! 

Verbatim Books

photo showing Verbatim Books, a used book store in San Diego

Address: 3793 30th Street
Store Hours: Sunday, Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday: 10 am-6 pm, Friday-Saturday: 10 am-7 pm 
Website: www.verbatimbooks.com 

Replete with an inventory of 35,000+ titles, antiquarian books, and a zine corner, Verbatim Book is one of the most vibrant used book stores in San Diego. 

Verbatim also has established a supportive community connection through local events. These include the San Diego Book Crawl and live-hosted performances by local creatives. Besides 200+ local authors’ titles, Verbatim carries new releases from small presses and microdistributors. Its well-curated stock features classics, favorites, and fresh finds. 

La Playa Books

Ai Laplaya

Address: 1026 Rosecrans Street  (in the Point Loma Village, between Canon and Talbot Streets)
Store Hours: Tuesday-Sunday: 10 am-5 pm
Website:  www.laplayabooks.com

Owner and proprietor James M. Hall and daughter Amy Hesselink founded LaPlaya Books in 2016. They support local literary non-profits and educational outreach. They also develop creative pop-ups around San Diego.

 LaPlaya offers new, used, and rare books along with book-related gifts and cards. Its staff is knowledgeable, and you may find yourself in a fascinating conversation about books or just life in general.

Footnote Books

Footnote Book's storefront

Address: 1627 University Avenue 
Store Hours:  Sunday: 11:00am-5pm, Monday, Wednesday-Saturday 10:30am – 6:30pm 
Website: www.facebook.com/Footnote-Books/

According to owner and proprietor Troy Beaver, Footnote Books has been a member of the well-known Abebooks booksellers’ websites since 1999. Footnote Books has thousands of titles, many of which aren’t listed online. 

Bluestocking Books

Picture showing Bluestocking Books' collection

Address: 3817 5th Avenue 
Store Hours: Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday: 11 am-6 pm; Friday-Saturday: 10 am-7 pm, Sunday: 10 am-6 pm 
Website: www.bluestockingbooks.com 

 If you’re looking for an offbeat used book, card, or gift, you’ll want to check out Bluestocking Books. Its AbeBooks page also lists ephemera, magazines with no ISBN, collectibles, and pre-early 1970s titles.

 If you want to help babies, Bluestocking Books partners in a program with pediatric offices. Each little one aged 0-5 gets a book to take home at the end of their visit.

 Twenty-three years young, Bluestocking has a web portal that supports independent authors. Kid- and pet-friendly, Bluestocking Books could easily be one of the busiest San Diego bookstores!

Friends of San Diego Central Library

Friends of San Diego Central Library's building

Address:  First floor of the Library at 330 Park Blvd, San Diego, CA 92101 (downtown East Village, Park Boulevard at 11th Avenue, near Petco Park)
Store Hours:  Monday-Tuesday: 12 am – 4 pm, Thursday-Sunday: 10 am – 4 pm 
Website:  www.friendsofsandiegocentrallibrary.org

Friends Bookstore isn’t typical of other used book stores in San Diego. It’s housed in a library, which isn’t bad, especially if you love books. 

Run as a benefit by volunteers, the Friends Bookstore gives 100% of its proceeds to the library. 

With a plethora of genres ranging from sci-fi to cooking and everything in between, the Friends Bookstore promises inspiration galore. This is one library visit you won’t want to miss.

Warwick’s

building of Warwick's

Address: 7812 Girard Avenue, La Jolla
Store Hours:  Monday-Saturday: 9 am – 6 pm, Sunday: 10 am – 5:30 pm
Website:  www.warwicks.com

In business since 1896, Warwick’s is the oldest continuously-run family bookstore in the country. This family-owned bookstore carries a wide selection of books. You can purchase pens, art supplies, stationery, and even unusual gifts at this bookshop! 

Tip: Make sure to check Warwick’s upcoming events such as Tea Time Book recommendations, Booked for Lunch, and Weekends with Locals,  

The Book Catapult

Photo showing people shopping for books at Book Catapult in San Diego

Address: 3010-B Juniper Street
Store Hours: Monday-Thursday: 10 am – 6 pm, Friday & Saturday: 10 am – 7 pm, Sunday 10 am – 5 pm
Website:  www.thebookcatapult.com

Originating as a blog in 2006, The Book Catapult drew a following and opened its physical doors in 2017. It’s the brainchild of the husband-wife team of owners, Seth Marko and Jennifer Powell. 

It offers a general selection of books, leaning towards local interest, fiction, and children’s books. You may even be inspired to stay for one of its popular events, Cocktails With The Catapult

Book Place

Address: 6122 Lake Murray Blvd, La Mesa
Store Hours: Wednesday-Saturday, 10 am – 3 pm
Website:  www.bookplacesandiego.com  

Book Place is one of the most delightful used book stores in San Diego. 

Book Place takes in 200-800 new books daily, expanding further their massive collection. In addition, the stock also contains collector’s editions and a recently-tripled children’s collection.

It all comes out of 30+ years in the bookselling business. Be ready for fun, fascinating conversation, and perhaps a few surprising facts about Beatrix Potter and other writers. 

Book-Off San Diego

Storefront of Book Off branch in San Diego

Address:  4240 Kearny Mesa Rd #128
Store Hours: Monday- Sunday, 10:00 am –8:00 pm
Website: www.bookoffusa.com 

When Book-Off was created in Japan in 1990, its owners wanted to improve the image of secondhand bookstores. Fast-forward to 2022, there are 807 branches across Japan and 13 overseas stores. 

One of those overseas stores is located in San Diego, specifically along 4240 Kearny Mesa Rd #128. Book-Off San Diego carries thousands of titles in all genres, including CDs, DVDs, and games. 

Mysterious Galaxy Bookstore

photo showing Mysterious Galaxy's store

Address: 3555 Rosecrans Street, Suite 107
Store Hours: Monday – Friday: 10 am – 7 pm, Saturday – Sunday: 10 am – 6 pm
Website: www.mystgalaxy.com

When three friends noticed in 1992 that San Diego needed a genre bookstore, they conceptualized Mysterious Galaxy Bookstore. Ray Bradbury was among those there to help them celebrate its official opening on May 8, 1993. Current owners Matt Berger and Jenni Marchisotto, who took over in 2020, plan no changes other than expanding community activities. One of these is a program that brings authors into schools to meet the students.

Mysterious Galaxy Bookstore carries mystery, young adult, fantasy, science fiction, and horror. They also host public events like Dungeons and Dragons and a podcast.

New Discoveries Waiting for You 

Whether you are looking for non-fiction, comic books, or quality editions of classics, you are bound to find what you are looking for by visiting the best used book stores in San Diego we’ve mentioned above.


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