The Best San Diego Bookstores

There’s always something to be said for delving into a great work of literature, especially while enjoying a vacation escape. That’s why enjoying a good book on a flight, reading in the back seat on a road trip, or getting lost in a great story while relaxing at the beach are so popular. Luckily, San Diego’s bookstores are more than up to the task of keeping even the most voracious bibliophile well-supplied with an all-you-can-read buffet. In the mood for the next big story? Here are some fantastic places to find in and around the city. 

And since you deserve the ultimate tranquility on vacation, our serene waterfront location and two outdoor pools make Best Western Plus Island Palms the perfect place to lounge poolside and enjoy some good vacation reads while you relax in the San Diego sun.


Bookstar Barnes & Noble (3.1 miles)

Bookstar Barnes & Noble San Diego

(Photo: @bnlomatheater)

This Point Loma movie theater-turned bookstore is a historic gem, offering a unique setting that truly spurs the imagination. Despite its roots as a movie mecca and playhouse, this location is all about what’s on the page. No matter what you’re looking for, from bestsellers to kids books, reference, non-fiction and more, chances are you’ll find it here — and have a great time while you browse on top of it.  

3150 Rosecrans Place, San Diego, CA 92110


Mysterious Galaxy Bookstore (3.5 miles)

(Photo: @mystgalaxybooks)

With a focus on sci-fi, fantasy, mystery, horror, and young-adult titles, the deep and wide-ranging selection at Mysterious Galaxy offers an infinity of escape within its countless covers. They also host regular author events where readers can meet and greet the scribes that give wings to their flights of literary fancy. The inventory is ever-changing, so every time you go, you’re sure to find something that will stimulate your imagination. 

3555 Rosecrans St, San Diego, CA 92110


Bluestocking Books (6.4 miles)

Bluestocking Book Store interior

(Photo: @blusoxsd)

The welcoming (and wholly independent) Bluestocking has been appeasing the appetites of San Diego’s reading community for more than two decades. Their deep selection consists of new-release books, gently used titles, and even hard-to-find editions. Visitors will also discover a playful gifts section chock-full of postcards, small antiques and curiosities, so there’s sure to be something to tickle your fancy any time you stop in.  

3817 Fifth Ave, San Diego, CA 92103


Footnote Books (7.2 miles)

Footnote Book Store interior

(Photo: @footnotebookssandiego)

Footnote is a true lit lovers’ paradise, with row after row of niche, one-of-a-kind, and “I’ve been looking for this one for forever” titles you simply won’t find anywhere else. The labyrinthine shelves and column after column of printed treasures invite hours of exploration, while the legendarily reasonable pricing means you’ll likely find yourself leaving with far more than you bargained for when you set out to find that elusive volume. Footnote has also been buying books since first opening their doors in 1989. So if you find yourself with a few too many, they’ll find a second life within these walls.   

1627 University Ave, San Diego, CA 92103


The Book Catapult (8.6 miles)

(Photo: @thebookcatapult)

The Book Catapult has roots unlike any other bookseller in town. The store began as a blog about books before blogger Seth Marko and his wife Jennifer Powell decided to turn their passion for reading into a brick-and-mortar bookstore. It’s been a beloved South Park institution ever since. Although you’ll find volumes covering every subject within their walls, The Book Catapult specializes in fiction, children’s titles and local literature. Feel like grabbing a fresh pastry while you peruse? The Book Catapult partners with nearby Communal Coffee, so you can feed your mind as well as your appetite.  

3010-B Juniper Street, San Diego, CA 92104 


Verbatim Books (9.3 miles)

Verbatim Books Store in San Diego

(Photo: @verbatim.books)

You truly never know what you’ll find when you stop into Verbatim Books, but chances are it’ll be worth the trip. As promised on the mint-green façade, the curated selection of books inside range from “antiquarian” to contemporary and everything in between. Verbatim is also the premier place to go if you’re looking for local authors, micro-publishers, limited-run and first editions, and even work from area artists. This independent shop not only offers an amazing environment for anyone looking for a great background for their reading, but also features a fun selection of gifts for those looking to bring home a souvenir.

3793 30th St, San Diego, CA 92104  


Warwick’s (13.1 miles)

(Photo: @warwicksbooks)

The venerable Warwick’s is the country’s oldest family-owned bookstore, delighting San Diego’s literature lovers since 1896. You’re sure to feel every bit of that storied history (pun intended) when you step through the doors. Warwick’s not only houses a truly massive selection of books covering every subject and genre imaginable, their floorspace also incorporates a gift shop, featuring stationery, accessories, art supplies and more.  

7812 Girard Ave, La Jolla, CA 92037 


D.G. Wills Books (13.2 miles)

(Photo: @bookshopsofearth)

Stepping through the door of D.G. Wills is like taking a trip back in time. The packed shelves are brimming with treasures everywhere you look, and the knowledgeable staff always seems to know just what you came in for — even if you don’t. Maybe that’s why they’ve spent their history hosting notable events with writers like Norman Mailer, Maureen Dowd, Gore Vidal, Christopher Hitchens, Edward Albee and Iris Chang.

7461 Girard Ave, La Jolla, CA 92037


Suggested Vacation Reading List

Looking for some recommendations for the perfect poolside read? Here’s what’s hot off the presses for the fall: 

  • The Summer I Turned Pretty: Author Jenny Han’s coming-of-age trilogy that became a hit series from Amazon.  
  • The Heaven and Earth Grocery Store: James McBride’s story of intrigue and mystery that unspools through the point of view of a diverse community
  • Dearborn: A new anthology from Ghassan Zeineddine about a neighborhood of quirky characters in a fictionalized version of the eponymous Michigan city.

  • Rouge: A slightly supernatural horror novel that serves as a comment on western society’s obsession with beauty, as told by “Bunny” author Mona Awad.

  • Family Meal: A tale of two boyhood friends who reconnect after one returns home to deal with a loss in the family. From author Bryan Washington.


Discover the Bookstores of San Diego From Island Palms

Ready to check out these tome-trading treasure troves for yourself? Best Western Island Palms is the perfect spot to do just that. Excellent accommodations, guest-friendly amenities and rates that will leave you with enough left over to load up on new titles are just the beginning. So when you’re ready to “book” your literature tour, take a look at our Special Offers page, select the San Diego travel deal that’s right for you, and turn the page on your next great travel story.