Southern California Readers discussion

Favorite SoCal bookstores?

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message 1: by Patrick (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:44AM) (new)

Patrick | 8 comments Hi all...where do you all like to buy your books here in southern California? What are your favorite out of the way bookstores that you think no one else knows about?

My personal favorite in LA County is the Brand used bookstore in Glendale.

message 2: by Alyssa (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:44AM) (new)

Alyssa Brand is also my favorite in LA County, with my second choice being Acres of Books in Long Beach. It's a lot less organized than Brand, but there's a ton of stuff.

My absolute favorite in San Diego is Adams Avenue Books, which is a lot like Brand but the selection of books tends to suit my tastes a little more. Whenever I'm looking for something specific, I always seem to find it there.

I'm looking for recommendations in Orange County. So far I've only checked out Bookman in Orange, which actually looks pretty good and they have great customer service, but I'm always looking for something new.

Acres of Books:
Adams Ave. Books:

message 3: by Patrick (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:44AM) (new)

Patrick | 8 comments Thanks for comment and the web links. I have been to all of those...but was only in the Adams Avenue bookstore once, a few yeas ago. It was really nice, and I found some interesting books there. Acres of Books is huge and it should be great, but it doesn't seem like their inventory turns over too much...I seem to see the same things all the time when I stop in.

The Bookman is great...I recommend you try the Book Baron at the corner of Magnolia and Ball(but you'd better hurry...they were having a "Lost Our Lease" sale that started a few weeks ago).

San Clemente has two pleasant bookstores...the Village Book Exhange down off El Camino Real on Avenida Serra, and Books Etc in the Staples shopping plaza west of the Pico exit off the I-5.

In San Diego, have you ever tried Wahrenbocks downtown? Parking's a bitch but it's got an Acres of Books flavor to it, and good selection, in my opinion.

message 4: by rivka (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:47AM) (new)

rivka Sadly, these days I rarely step inside a mortar-and-brick store. I pass by Bodhi Tree (excellent used bookstore) and wish longingly that I had the time, though.

I still haven't gotten over the demise of Change of Hobbit, and it's been gone over 15 years. Alas!

message 5: by Diane (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:49AM) (new)

Diane  (dianedj) Hi Patrick - If you like mysteries, check out The Mystery Bookstore in Westwood on Broxton. Ask for Bobby or Linda and tell 'em Diane and Endre sent you. Rare and collectibles, as well as the most current mystery selections...cozy bookstore, and some great nearby restaurants.

Also there is Duttons in Brentwood, on San Vincente I believe. Has every venue of books available...there is also a smaller branch in Beverly Hills, but the Brentwood location is by far the better of the two!

message 6: by Patrick (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:49AM) (new)

Patrick | 8 comments Diane and Rivka, thanks for posting! I still need to get to Duttons. The more I am on this website the more I realize hwo deficient I am in not having been there yet, after four years in LA/OC.

I read in the paper that one Duttons closed last year...I think it was the Bev Hills one. This was in the story two weeks ago about how the Brentwood Duttons was saved from being shut down by its landlord, who had been thinking of putting condos there (EXACTLY what Brentwood needs, right?)

Question for Diane: Is Duttons strictly an independent new bookstore, or is it a mix of new and used books like my beloved Powell's City of Books in Portland, OR?

message 7: by Silver (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:49AM) (new)

Silver | 2 comments I work at the 1-year old Laguna Beach Books in Laguna Beach (where else?!). I feel so proud to be a part of the Independent Book Store realm. It's wonderful to hear how many people want to (and do) support locally owned bookstores.
Visit us if you're ever in Laguna. My name is Laura.

message 8: by Patrick (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:49AM) (new)

Patrick | 8 comments Laura aka Silver,

Thanks for the update! I have looked for independent stores in Laguna Beach before but never found any. I'll check your store out this weekend.

message 9: by Diane (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:50AM) (new)

Diane  (dianedj) Patrick - you are correct that Duttons BH has closed. Duttons Brentwood does not have many (if any) used books, maybe a cart full at best (I agree I love used books, they seem to hold a special mystique about them). Another recommendation for you is an on-line independent bookstore called Legends. They specialize in mysteries and thrillers, rare and collectibles. Their prices are very reasonable (esp when they have a sale). I have had a wonderful relationship with them for years; their book are always shipped perfectly in bubble wrap, and are always in the condition they promise. If you check them out and work with Michael, again mention Diane and Endre.

message 10: by Karen (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:50AM) (new)

Karen Germain I enjoyed reading everyones suggestions. I have some bookstores to check out. I really like Vromans in Pasadena. I always find something out of the ordinary.

message 11: by Diane (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:50AM) (new)

Diane  (dianedj) Hi Karen - Yes, Vromans is another great one. I was there a few years ago when Anne Rice was there.

message 12: by Diane (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:50AM) (new)

Diane  (dianedj) One more thought for you Patrick - there are 2 other great ones that sell strictly "used" books, some "gently used" for very fair prices. One is in Santa Monica on Wilshire Blvd. and the other is in West LA on Pico near Manning Blvd. I can't recall their names but will make it a point to get them and pass on to you with the exact addresses. They are cramped and overflowing with books, but that's part of the charm!

message 13: by Patrick (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:50AM) (new)

Patrick | 8 comments fear not, Diane, I will find them! Part of the charm of many used bookstores is that you do often have to do a little urban or rural searching to find them. Once accomplished, walking inside and seeing all the books is like a reward in itself. And then of course the fun begins as you start book scouting...

But if you want to post the info here for all who read this post, that would be most welcome by all, of course. I'm glad to hear there are soem good used bookstores in West LA. There should be, it's only appropriate.

A big thanks you to moderator Karen and also Diane for mentioning Vromans, LA Landmark (and another place I haven't been to yet). Our state historian emeritus, Kevin Starr of USC, has a good paragraph on the history of Vroman's in Chapters 11 and 12 of his book Material Dreams: Southern California in the 1920's. In that last section of that books he describes Los Angeles's once robust literary and book culture and how it influnced the young entertainment industry. If you're a reader of quality books, you may enjoy reading about a time when a lot of influential people in LA shared our passion.

Also, Book Soup was mentioned in a similar thread under the Book Buying Addicts Group. Anybody here a fan of Book Soup?

message 14: by Diane (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:50AM) (new)

Diane  (dianedj) Book Soup, of course! On Sunset...yes, you must get there too. Have you been yet to the LA Times Festival of Books, Patrick? It is always the last weekend of April, so mark your calendar for 2008! The big stores are there of course, but lots of the indies too (Duttons, Mystery Bookstore, Legends, Booksoup, Bodhi Tree to name a few)....and tons of author appearances/signings. It's great.

message 15: by Patrick (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:50AM) (new)

Patrick | 8 comments I went to the LAT Festival of Books in 2006, but was otherwise committed this year. I enjoy the author and writer panels. A good suggestion for all in this group, Diane.

Does anyone know when the big local antiquarian book festival is scheduled for?

message 16: by rivka (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:51AM) (new)

rivka "the other is in West LA on Pico near Manning Blvd"

You don't by any chance mean Children's Book World ( ), do you?

message 17: by Diane (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:51AM) (new)

Diane  (dianedj) No, not Children's Book World....I will get the name and address this week, it's near my office. But I know of that one too.

message 18: by Patrick (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:53AM) (new)

Patrick Coleman | 1 comments I'll be honest, of all the L.A. bookstores, I think Book Soup would be near the tail of my list, and I'm even a former employee. It's a nice store, and they do have a good selection in the fiction department especially, but it's rather small and the emphasis is definitely on celebrity and the Hollywood lifestyle. Which makes is a fantastic place for events--their events calendar is huge. And for celebrity spotting.

I haven't heard anyone mention Skylight Books, in Los Feliz. WONDERFUL place. They have great stock, a tree growing in the middle of the store, and a cat named Lucy. Also, real good, literary-ish events. They're kind of the classic "neighborhood bookstore," which you don't see to much of anymore.

Also, the two used bookstores down in Hillcrest (San Diego) are great. Small, but some real finds (I got a copy of some early reprintings of Krazy Kat comics there).

message 19: by Patrick (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:55AM) (new)

Patrick | 8 comments LA Weekly ran an article called The Bookish Set in their 16 May issue on LA's independent bookstores. If you haven't seen it, you can check it on their website's archives.The author was Gendy Alimurung if you want to find it.

Here's who was profiled as the main event:

- Book Soup
- Vroman's
- The Skylight
- Dutton's Brentwood
- Family Booksstore (on Farifax, this is very new)
- Malibu Diesel (anyone been there?)

And then they briefly listed these neighborhood bookstores:

- Alias Books in West LA
- Counterpoint on Franklin Ave in Hollywood
- Daily Planet (good for poetry lovers)
- David Kaye (in Woodland Hills)
- Equator (Venice)
- Iliad Bookshop (on Cahuenga in N Hollywood)
- Metropolis (downtown)
- Small World (near the Venice boardwalk)
- Tia Chuca's Cafe Cultural (Sylmar)

Anybody out there who can comment on those listed above that have not been mentioned in this thread yet?

Also, anybody got any good recommendations for bookstores south of downtown and points east?

message 20: by Carlton (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:57AM) (new)

Carlton (methuselaschild) | 1 comments Haha! Change of Hobbit! I havent thought about that place in years...

message 21: by Diane (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:58AM) (new)

Diane  (dianedj) Where is Change of Hobbit? Catchy name.

message 22: by rivka (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:58AM) (new)

rivka Change of Hobbit is in NorCal, in SF I think. Alas, Another Change of Hobbit exists only in memory.

message 23: by Elaine (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:19PM) (new)

Elaine (urbanbamboo) There's a great used book store--the messy kind with books stacked behind more books and piled up in corners and up to the ceiling, etc.--in Burbank called Book Castles and Movie World. Don't let the "movie" fool you--there is a ton of literature (classics, contemporary) here, at great prices. It's quickly become one of my favorite bookstores in the Valley.

As far as Hollywood: Skylight, Book Soup, and Bodhi Tree used section. Love those!

message 24: by Jenna (last edited Aug 25, 2016 02:08PM) (new)

Jenna (jentobox) | 1 comments Long Beach's Acres of Books is amazing. I could spend the entire day browsing there and then some. Great staff and good deals.

message 25: by Cathy (last edited Feb 07, 2008 11:18AM) (new)

Cathy | 1 comments The Illiad is great -- I wish they had more children's books, but otherwise it's my favorite used place and the owner is terrific. I also like Brand Bookstore and Vroman's.

I'll have to check out Skylight again -- I haven't been in years, and the last time their selection was very spotty.

If you like horror, try Dark Delicacies in North Hollywood. They have a lot of movie and toy stuff, but the book selection is very nice.

message 26: by Karen (new)

Karen Germain I went to Skylight for the first time last month and I thought that it was wonderful. They had a great selection and I loved the tree growing in the middle. I can easily see it becoming a must stop when I am in the area.

message 27: by Diane (new)

Diane  (dianedj) SAD SAD SAD - Duttons is closing/closed! An LA instituition.

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