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Like the dragonfly the bookshop is named after, Libélula inspires dreams in the artistic neighborhood of Barrio Logan. Customers may be greeted by music being played by anyone who cares to sit at the spinet. And in addition to selling used and new books, staff help customers with job applications (a computer is available for online forms), literary explorations, and homework. San Diego
Stepping inside Maxwell’s House of Books, it’s easy to imagine (or remember) what life was like before the internet. Browsing the aisles of secondhand books yields thrilling discoveries in almost any genre. This vintage outpost even has a resident cat, Rorschach, who relishes a scratch behind the ears. La Mesa
The genre-specific Mysterious Galaxy carries a diverse selection of science fiction books, and its inventory also gives a platform to authors who previously might not have had as much visibility—think: a cookbook section where the books contain recipes from sci-fi, fantasy, and horror worlds. San Diego
Artifact Books offers everything from used, beach-read paperbacks to rare collectibles and signed first editions. Antiquarian poetry collections from the 17th century share the shelves with new releases and popular thrillers. The store offers a distinctive book-buying experience that includes special celebrations, themed sales, and author signing events. Encinitas
Founded in 1896, Warwick’s is widely known as the country’s oldest continuously family-owned bookstore. The events calendar bursts with readings by acclaimed authors, and every week, staff and publisher reps discuss new releases at the shop’s virtual Tea Time Recommendations. But what stands out at Warwick’s is a knowledgeable staff eager to provide helpful input on any book you might pick up. La Jolla
Located in the heart of San Diego’s North Park neighborhood, Verbatim Books offers shelf space for more than 200 local authors’ new titles, a robust secondhand inventory, and a main room reminiscent of an elaborate, gothic-style bower for its readings and other events. In the market for a cool new zine? You’ll find plenty of recommendations and samples. San Diego