For two days next month, indie bookstores in San Diego will invite groups to participate at special events and peruse their shelves in celebration of the third annual Independent Book Store Crawl.
The crawl, which will take place April 27–29, will show off the city’s many new, used and rare indie bookstores and other literary spaces.
“At the moment, we have 10 [indie bookstores] in the San Diego area, with two more slated to open,” says Andrea Vuleta, executive director of Southern California Independent Bookseller Association. “We have seen growth in that area specifically, with an expansion of one store (Warwick’s) which now has an airport location, and a few new stores in the last two years.”
Here’s a roundup of some of our favorite San Diego bookstores to help plan your group’s literary journey.
The Book Catapult
It all began in 2006 with Seth Marko’s blog. For almost 10 years, he shared his reviews about books, authors and other aspects of the literary world. Then, in 2017, Marko and wife Jennifer Powell saw the opportunity to open a bookstore. They took over West Grove Collective bookstore and renamed it The Book Catapult. Located in South Park area, it contains a selection of new literary fiction, nonfiction, science and children’s books.
The stores hosts events such as Coffee with Catapult, an informal discussion with readers about what’s new in the world of literature. During the conversation, guests can grab a cup of coffee provided by Communal Coffee, a coffeeshop around the corner. At the end of the event, a 20 percent discount is offered on all books discussed.
Run for Cover Bookstore
Marianne Reiner had a longtime dream to have a space where she could express her passion for books and pastries. She became owner and founder of Run for Cover Bookstore, where customers can immerse themselves in the cozy, bohemian ambience that reflects Reiner’s French roots. While searching for a title, groups can drink coffee or eat a pastry at the store’s cafe. Outdoor seating is available in the back courtyard.
Justine Epstein, owner of this North Park neighborhood bookstore, has just acquired the former dentist office next door to expand her business. Part of the additional space will be dedicated to authors events and readings, and part will showcase the wide collection of used and rare books. The bookstore contains more than 200 new titles by San Diego writers, as one of the goals of the founder is to highlight local talents.
Located on the ground floor of the San Diego Central Library in the East Village, Library Shop is a hybrid—a bookstore and a boutique. The light-wood shelves display mainly new titles, including adult and children literature, whereas the wooden tables and walls feature a selection of local-crafted jewelry, greeting cards, souvenirs and T-shirts. The store is a partnership between San Diego Public Library Foundation and Friends of the Library. All proceeds benefit the San Diego Library system.
This is a small, old-fashioned store with so many books that the ceiling-to-floor shelves cannot contain all of them. It specializes in used and rare books, including out-of-print books. The shop is little off the beaten path—it’s at 1627 University Ave., a few minutes’ walk from Park Boulevard. The store also has a large assortment of vinyl records.
The bookstore’s name refers to a well-educated, intellectual woman, originally a member of the 18th-century British Blue Stocking Society, led by hostess and critic Elizabeth Montagu. In homage of the lineage, the shop has a series of new and used books, including art, architecture, biography, fiction, gardening and cooking. It also features an interesting selection of graphic novels, including Japanese manga.
Founded in 1896 and located in La Jolla, this is the country’s oldest family-owned indie bookstore, and is now run by the family’s fourth generation. Warwick’s is known for its thousands of new titles and book-signing events, featuring prominent politicians, Prize Pulitzer-winning authors, literary celebrities and many other notables. They have included Hillary Clinton, author Ian McEwan, stand-up comedian Patton Oswalt, and humorist and comedian David Sedaris.
On the second Tuesday of each month at 10 a.m., the store hosts a morning coffee with a member of its bookselling team, where participants talk about new releases, literature and other inspiring topics.