20 Local Bookstores in San Diego

February 29, 2024

Do you ever find yourself going to the same bookstore you’ve known since you were a kid? If so, you are missing out on many curated experiences created by San Diego locals when it comes to books. Whether catered to horror or romance, San Diego bookstores have just the ambiance you’re looking for. Here is a list of 20 bookstores you’re missing out on. 



1. Meet Cute

Address: 4048 30th St, San Diego, CA 92104

Hours: Tuesday – Saturday, 11 AM – 7 PM & Sunday, 11 AM – 5 PM

Website: click here

Just up the street from Verbatim is a curated romance bookstore and queer safespace, Meet Cute, opened just a little over a year ago. They have all the romance tropes a romance fanatic can ask for—not to mention their cute merchandise made by local artists like their stickers. They are open from 11am to 7pm everyday (closed Mondays) but 11am to 5pm on Sundays. 


2. The Book Catapult 

Address: 3010-b Juniper St, San Diego, CA 92104

Hours: Daily from 10 AM – 6 PM

Website: click here

Located in South Park next to Dark Horse Coffee is The Book Catapult. The Book Catapult has a variety of books that will speak to you. From their staff picks to their creative genres, you will find a book—and no matter the age at that because they are one of the few that have a children’s section on this list. In addition, they host many free in person events from reading with small local writers, to book clubs, Dimestories, and coffee with catapult where you talk about new and upcoming books with their co-owner and staff. 


3. Lang Books

Address: 2903 El Cajon Blvd Unit 2, San Diego, CA 92104

Hours: Daily except Mondays, 10 AM – 4 PM

Website: click here

If you’re looking for a place that not only curates books by local writers but also art, Lang Books is the place for you. Located on El Cajon Blvd, Lang Books provides a space for an array of works from art exhibits to zines and everything in between. You can find poetry, photography, literature, film, and art throughout the gallery. 


4. Mysterious Galaxy Bookstore

Address: 3555 Rosecrans St Suite 107, San Diego, CA 92110

Hours: Monday – Friday, 10 AM – 7 PM & Weekends, 10 AM – 6 PM

Website: click here

Founded in 1993, Mysterious Galaxy Bookstore has been open for 31 years now. They are located in the Rosecrans Shopping Center near Crumbl. They carry great honor in catering towards fans of mystery, horror, science fiction, and fantasy. They host signing events, book clubs, and will have your next big find as they carry books from The Indie Next List


5. Joyride Bookshop

Address: 2750 Historic Decatur Rd #104, San Diego, CA 92106 (Liberty Station location)

Hours: Fridays & Saturdays, 12 PM – 5 PM

Website: click here

The Joyride Bookshop is a bookstore that specifically caters to kids and teens and pulls books also from The Indie Next List in addition to the Kids Indie Next List. Many stories from all walks of life are waiting to be told from this bookstore. Joyride has two locations; one is in Liberty Station, and the other is at the New Children’s Museum. 


6. Tree of Life Metaphysical Books and Gifts

Address: 4870 Santa Monica Ave, San Diego, CA 92107

Hours: Wednesdays, Thursdays, & Sundays, 1 PM – 5 PM & Saturdays, 1 PM – 4:30 PM

Website: click here

Located on Santa Monica Ave, Tree of Life is proudly servicing San Diego’s community with books on metaphysical, witchcraft, paganism, and more topics of the sorts. These books will leave you wanting to practice their teachings and will provide you with the materials to do so, such as imbolc oil, element candles, ritual incense and more. The Tree of Life provides additional classes to independent disciplines like tarot reading, numerology, and many more.  


7. Libélula Books & Co

Address: 950 S 26th St, San Diego, CA 92113

Hours: Daily, 11 AM – 6 PM

Website: click here

Libélula Books & Co is a queer inclusive and bilingual friendly bookstore that also values art, a strong community, and storytelling. Based in Barrio Logan, Libélula is part of a strong community that values the next generation and their voices. 


8. Bay Books of Coronado

Address: 1007 Orange Ave, Coronado, CA 92118

Hours: Fridays & Saturdays, 9 AM – 7 PM & Every Other Day, 9 AM – 6 PM

Website: click here

Bay Books of Coronado was founded in 1990 and has been here since. It is an independent bookstore envisioned by Shirley Muller, who passed away 22 years ago. Today they carry books catering to genres including young adult, children’s books, military history, and indie favorites. People also love going to their coffee shop next door after getting a good book.


Comic Book Stores 


9. TC’s Rockets

Address: 5155 Waring Rd, San Diego, CA 92120

Hours: Fridays, 10:30 AM – 10 PM, Sundays, 10:30 AM – 6 PM & Every Other Day, 10:30 AM – 9 PM

Website: click here

TC’s Rockets is a comic book store that is located on Waring Rd by SDSU. They first started in La Mesa just nine years ago and have since expanded to a super store with quadruple the room. At this new location they host a yearly convention, San Diego Rocket Con, to revive the collector scene with a place for collectors to bargain and trade along with celebrity appearances. Not only did they expand more at their new location, but they also built a restaurant next door!


10. Nuclear Comics North Park 

Address: 3076 University Ave, San Diego, CA 92104

Hours: Mondays & Tuesdays, 11 AM – 6 PM, Wednesday – Friday, 11 AM – 7 PM, Saturdays, 10 AM – 10 PM & Sundays 11 AM – 5 PM

Website: click here

Not only local to San Diego but also Orange County, Nuclear Comics takes pride in providing a space for all comics and graphic novels. They have an assortment of old and new issue comics. Besides comics they also carry posters, action figures, and trading cards to keep you entertained. 


Used Book Stores 


11. Verbatim Books

Address: 3793 30th St, San Diego, CA 92104

Hours: Tuesdays, 12 PM – 5 PM, Fridays & Saturdays, 10 AM – 7 PM & Every Other Day, 10 AM – 6 PM

Website: click here

Located in North Park, San Diego and famous for their dark academia vibes with their framed photos, vintage chairs, and thick books. Verbatim is a used bookstore that offers thousands of books and trade credit up to 30% off books in store, or 20% cashback of what they would sell for. They are a popular bookstore destination in San Diego, hosting many community events like book fairs, book crawls, and performers.


12. Footnote Books

Address: 1627 University Ave, San Diego, CA 92103

Hours: Sundays, 11 AM – 5 PM, Closed on Tuesdays, Every Other Day, 10:30 AM – 6:30 PM

Website: click here

Footnote Bookstore is a used bookstore located in Hillcrest with many collections. They have been selling books in San Diego for 25 years now and have built up their catalog both in store and online. They welcome any books with the largest collection of military books and classics. 


13. Bluestocking Books

Address: 3817 Fifth Ave, San Diego, CA 92103

Hours: Fridays & Saturdays, 10 AM – 7 PM & Every Other Day, 11 AM – 6 PM

Website: click here

Bluestocking Books is a bookstore located in Hillcrest with books for all readers and listeners. They carry both books and audio books for adults and children alike. With many genres and a welcoming staff, you are bound to find a book to enjoy. People love this location because of how knowledgeable and helpful the staff is. They also offer trade credit when you drop off books, offering 50% off any used books in stores and 25% off any store items like new books or stationeries. 


14. La Playa Books

Address: 1026 Rosecrans St, San Diego, CA 92106

Hours: Temporarily Closed for Remodel (open for online orders)

Website: click here

La Playa Books is the place you want to be when looking for a hidden gem bookstore. Readers will experience the cozy feeling of a library with the comfort and community of a bookstore. La Playa Books are affordable and will keep you wanting to come back. The in-person store is closing for remodel but will be open for online orders through the renovation period.


15. Pennywise Books

Address: 1331 Garnet Ave, San Diego, CA 92109

Hours: Daily, 10 AM – 5 PM (Closed Sundays & Mondays)

Website: click here

Pennywise Books is located on Garnet Ave and home to used books. The shop buys, sells, and trades used books so be ready to bargain. With a massive assortment of different books, they allow trade in and will give you a 25% off purchase of any book you like. 


16. Artifact Books 

Address: 603 S Coast Hwy 101, Encinitas, CA 92024

Hours: Daily, 10:30 AM – 5:30 PM

Website: click here

If you’re looking for vintage books and rare editions, Artifact Books in Encinitas is the place to look. With a library feel and helpful owner, Artifact is sure to have what you are searching for; you can even put in requests on the website.


17. The Book Place 

Address: 6122 Lake Murray Blvd, La Mesa, CA 91942

Hours: Wednesday – Saturday, 10 AM – 3 PM

Website: click here

The Book Place opened over 30 years ago and is still going strong as one of the few independent bookstores in San Diego. Home to over 60,000 used books that are half off or ¼ the cost of cover price with trade-ins, plus games, puzzles and more, The Book Place has all you could ever want. Go support this family-owned business!


18. Maxwell’s House of Books

Address: 8285 La Mesa Blvd, La Mesa, CA 91941

Hours: Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, & Saturdays, 11 AM – 4:45 PM & Fridays, 11 AM – 4 PM

Website: click here

Established 21 years ago, Maxwell’s House of Books is home to many used books from different genres waiting for you to discover them. Maxwell’s House is open to your donations and even sales of gently used books without writing in them; in exchange, they will give you a percentage of what it would sell for in store. Taking the reins from his Grandfather, Craig Maxwell continues to spread the knowledge and love of books among book lovers around San Diego.  


19. D.G Wills Books

Address: 7461 Girard Ave, La Jolla, CA 92037

Hours: Sundays, 11 AM – 5 PM & Every Other Day, 10 AM – 5 PM

Website: click here

Located in La Jolla, D.G Wills is home for many used & new scholarly books waiting to be read. They host many author and speaker events throughout the year. Their most recent speaker was Professor Giddeon Rappaport, who talked about his new book.


20. Friends of the San Diego Public Library

Website: click here

Support your local libraries by visiting your Friends of the San Diego Public Library to purchase books. Each book you buy is direct funding to your local library. These bookstores are usually in the library so make a purchase when you visit! Some Libraries to check out include Central Library, Skyline, or Coronado, just to name a few.

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