11 best-selling used bookstores

Reduce, reuse, reread — these local shops let you buy secondhand books to give them new life.

The bookshelves at Verbatim books

Add another chapter to these books’ lives.

Photo by Michael Beausoleil + SDtoday

Table of Contents

Picture this — you’re sitting on the beach, reading your new favorite book. Better yet, you got a great deal because you bought it secondhand.

This story doesn’t have to be fiction. San Diego is home to many used bookstores, and here are 11 installments with shelves full of pre-loved page-turners.

Verbatim Books, North Park

The best stories are retold. This shop calls itself San Diego’s largest independent bookstore. Here, you’ll be able to dig through pages and discover old classics, local history books, or “Twilight” — last we saw, the series has its own shelf.

Pennywise Books, Pacific Beach

If you’re in PB without a book to read, just walk down Garnet Avenue and you’ll find “It.” This shop has books across genres and offers a daily $1 book sale.

Bluestocking Books, Hillcrest

This store gets its name from an oddball term, so book nerds come here to browse its collection of both used and new titles, plus hidden gems.

Friends of the Central Library storefront inside the Library

When you shop here, there’s no due date.

Photo by Michael Beausoleil + SDtoday

Friends of the Central Library Bookstore, East Village

You’ll find this shop inside the San Diego Central Library that allows you to give books and other media permanent homes on your bookshelves. Better yet, 100% of the store’s revenue benefits the library so you can check out more books in the future.

Pro tip: You can donate books, CDs, DVDs, and audiobooks here.

La Playa Books, Point Loma

Bookworms love the selection they’ll find at this shop — including rare titles. If you’re looking for something specific, you can browse the shelves virtually.


We’re going to book it to Maxwell’s House of Books.

Photo via @vinomamajc

Maxwell’s House of Books, La Mesa

Since 2003, readers have visited this store in La Mesa Village to browse its ever-changing selection. We wish you good luck during your next book hunt, even if you encounter the black cat who “manages” the store with its owner.

Mission Hills-Hillcrest/Knox Library, Hillcrest

This store supports the San Diego Public Library — particularly this branch — and helps to fund its programs, equipment, and resources. If you’re looking to make a donation, the store accepts books, media, magazines, or puzzles.

Artifacts books storefront with sign saying it buys and sells books.

This store holds history in its pages.

Artifact Books, Encinitas

This store is for the history books. Here, you can buy and sell recent titles, but it’s also a treasure trove for collectors — you’ll find rare, vintage, and first-edition titles for sale.

The storefront to Footnote Books

Footnote Books has us covered.

Footnote Books, Hillcrest

If you need a new book, this store’s got you covered. Buying and selling since 1989, its walls are fully stocked with previously-loved stories.

Helen’s Book Mark, Escondido

Once upon a time, this book exchange was named Elaine’s Book Mark, but the store started a new chapter when Helen — a former customer — became the owner. Today, much of the story remains the same. Customers can bring in books (mostly paperbacks) and swap them for credits to buy different ones.

Book Place, La Mesa

Scale Book Place’s “book mountain” — 60,000 used books and counting, plus puzzles, games, CDs, DVDs, and audiobooks. Go in with a plan, or get lost in the stacks and come out with something unexpected.

Let’s make it a trilogy. We revised this list with your suggestion, but if there are more used book stores we missed, let us know.

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