Tuesday, June 11, 2013

The Mother So-Cal Indie Bookstore List

In preparing to launch The Vesuvius Isotope, I have compiled a mother list of bookstores. This list is composed entirely of independent bookstores (hence, they might or might not accept self-published work, as opposed to a blanket "no.") My list focuses on Southern California from San Diego through Los Angeles.

To create a similar list for your own area, please visit a fabulous, interactive Indie Bookstore Finder. Please feel free to share your list with me, and I will post it here on Murder Lab. And please, please, let me know if you're doing a signing, and I'll tell our readers!

To generate my So Cal list, I clicked on every single one of those little cross symbols from the Indie Bookstore Finder, and I copied and pasted the info from the reference. Then I went to the bookstore's website (if there was one) and took a few notes, which are also displayed below. I have taken the liberty of eliminating a few of the stores that (in my opinion) will never carry a mystery or thriller. Please feel free to correct me if I'm wrong. Which isn't to say that I eliminated all such bookstores. The list is sorted by area.


San Diego County

Clairemont and La Jolla

Comickaze Comics Books and more
5517 Clairemont Mesa Blvd
San Diego, California 92117
(858) 278-0371
Graphic Novels, Manga and crossover prose material

Mysterious Galaxy San Diego
7051 Clairemont Mesa Boulevard
San Diego, California 92111
(858) 268-4747
Mystery, science fiction, fantasy, and horror. Frequent author events.

UCSD Bookstore
University of California San Diego
La Jolla, California 92093-0008
(858) 534-7323
Finest selection of general, medical and technical book sections in San Diego

Groundwork Books
0323 UCSD New Student Center
La Jolla, California 92092
(858) 452-9625
Political collective

7812 Girard Avenue
La Jolla, California 92037-4230
(858) 454-0347
Fiction, mysteries, history and biographies. Gift books on cooking, decorating, gardening & art.

Coronado, Downtown, Mission Valley

Bay Books
1029 Orange Avenue
Coronado, California 92118-3405
(619) 435-0070
Books of all kind including mystery, frequent author events, book clubs

Upstart Crow
835 C West Harbor Drive
San Diego, California 92101
(619) 232-4855
Bookstore and coffeehouse. Frequent author events

Yellow Book Road
2690 Historic Decatur Rd
San Diego, California 92016
(619) 463-4900
Make your classroom rich with grade-level and reading level appropriate literature

Capt. Fitch's Mercantile
2627 San Diego Ave
San Diego, California 92110
(619) 298-3944
Books, replicas, nautical items, Blue/White China, writing sets, seals, teas

San Diego Museum of Art Museum Store
1450 EL Prado
San Diego, California 92112-2107
(619) 696-1971
Most extensive collection of art related titles in San Diego County

The Grove
3010 Juniper St.
San Diego, California 92104
(619) 284-7684
Books, a knit shop, classes, and and ever changing variety of terrific stuff

5th Avenue Books
3838 Fifth Avenue
San Diego, California 92103
(619) 291-4660
Broken web link, no description

Bluestocking Books & Bindery
3817 Fifth Avenue
San Diego, California 92103-3140
(619) 296-1424
We order new and used books of all kinds

The Book Tree
3316 Adams Avenue
San Diego, California 92116
619 280-1263
Metaphysical, spiritual and controversial books, magic and alchemy

Del Mar, Encinitas, Carlsbad, and Vista

The Book Works
2670 Via de la Valle
Del Mar, California 92014-1982
(858) 755-3735
Literary fiction, non-fiction, gardening books, art & architecture

Ducky Waddle's Emporium
414 N. Coast Hwy. 101
Encinitas, California 92024
(760) 632-0488
Art and design, metalworking, etc.

Farenheit 451 Books
325 Carlsbad Village Dr
Carlsbad, California 92008
(760) 720-3373

Book Place, Vista
1580 S. Melrose Dr. Ste 102
Vista, California 92081
Used books for trade

San Clemente and Laguna Beach

Village Book Exchange
99 Avenida Serra
San Clemente, California 92672
Book exchange with welcoming exchange policy

Mathom House Books, Inc.
83 Via Pico Plaza
San Clemente, California 92672

Laguna Beach Books
1200 South Coast Highway
Laguna Beach, California 92651
(949) 494-4779
Books of all kinds, signings, events, book clubs

Del Cerro and La Mesa

SDSU Campus Bookstore
San Diego State University
San Diego, California 92182-0001
(619) 594-7541

Readers, Inc.
8219 La Mesa Blvd
La Mesa, California 91941-5215
(619) 461-1400

Book Place
6122 Lake Murray Blvd
La Mesa, California 91942
(619) 462-4200
Used books for trade

Ramona and Borrego Springs

Unicorn Books and Gifts
738 Main Street
Ramona, California 92065
Books of all kinds, readings, frequent events

Borrego Desert Nature Center
652 Palm Canyon Drive
Borrego Springs, California 92004-0310
Nature and history books pertaining to the Anza-Borrego Desert region

Escondido, Fallbrook, Murietta

Paperback Book Exchange
153 E Grand Ave
Escondido, California 92025
(760) 746-6362
Book exchange; bring in good condition books and change them for half the store credit

Brandon Book Nook
129 East Hawthorn Street
Fallbrook, California 92028
(760) 731-2665

Eclectic Books
39520 Murrieta Hot Springs Rd Ste 218
Murrieta, California 92563-7714
(951) 591-0517

Orange County and Riverside County


Downtowne Bookstore
3582 Main Street
Riverside, California 92501
(951) 682-1082 ‎

The Harvest Bookstore
6115 Arlington Avenue
Riverside, California 92504
Nonprofit Christian bookstore that sells Bibles and other Christian books

DWPages (Book Sale)
470 McKinley St.
Corona, California 92879
(951) 270-0795

UCR Campus Store
900 University Ave East
Riverside, California 92521-0101
(951) 827-2665

Cellar Door Books
5225 Canyon Crest Dr. Suite 30 A/B
Riverside, California 92507
(951) 787-7807
Riverside’s independent bookstore for new books of all kinds

Bright Ideas Books
1520 N Waterman Ave
San Bernardino, California 92404-5111
(909) 888-3296
The only bookstore in San Bernadino

Palm Desert and Palm Springs

Ink Book Gathering
54385 N. Circle Dr.
Idyllwild, California 92549-3180
A cool and quirky independent bookstore made for book lovers

Costa Mesa, Huntington Beach, Westminster, Irvine

UCI Bookstore
University of California, Irvine
Irvine, California 92697-1550
(949) 824-BOOK(2665)

A Whale of a Tale Children’s Bookshop
4199 Campus Drive
Irvine, California 92612
(949) 854-8288
Children’s books

Martha’s Bookstore
308 1/2 Marine Avenue
Balboa Island, California 92662
(949) 673-7185
Enjoy a glass of chardonnay or tea from Republic of Tea while finding the perfect book or gift with the help of our knowledgeable staff.

Lido Village Books
3424 Via Oporto # 101
Newport Beach, California 92663-3941
(949) 673-2549
Independent bookstore

New & Recycled Romanced
147 Broadway
Costa Mesa, California 92627
(949) 645-0529
Romance genre

Book Off
2955 Harbor Blvd
Costa Mesa, California 92626
English and Japanese books, website is in Japanese

The Bookman HB/Bookman Too
19111 Beach Blvd.
Huntington Beach, California 92646
(714) 596-1999
Broken web link

Mystery Ink
8907 Warner Ave
Huntington Beach, California 92647
(714) 743-6127

Anaheim, Santa Ana, Orange, Yorba Linda

BookTown USA
2090 So Euclid Street
Anaheim, California 92802
(714) 534-5038
Preowned and new books

Compass Books and Café
Downtown Disney
Anaheim, California 92802
(714) 502-9999
Gobs of mystery/thriller/awards/book clubs/events

Martinez Books and Art Gallery
1200 N. Main St. Suite 100-D
Santa Ana, California 92701
(714) 973-7900
Latino books

Acorn Naturalists
155 El Camino Real
Tustin, California 92705
(800) 422-8886
Science and nature books, mostly for kids, left field

Book Carnival
348 S. Tustin Street
Orange, California 92866
(714) 538-3210
Mysteries and romantic suspense, events, signings, book club

The Bookman
840 N Tustin St
Orange, California 92867
(800) 538-0166
Used, unique and out of print books

One Dollar Bookstore
8520 E Chapman Ave
Orange, California 92869
Used bookstore in a parking lot, all books are one dollar

Books Redux
18508 Yorba Linda Blvd
Yorba Linda, California 92886
(714) 970-2957

Los Angeles County

Long Beach

Apostrophe Books
4712 E. 2nd Street
Long Beach, California 90803
Books of all kinds, signing events

Shore Books
3064 E Broadway
Long Beach, California 90803-5814
(562) 433-9633
Website offline

Gatsby Books
5535 E. Spring St.
Long Beach, California 90808
(562) 208-5862
Lots of books and signings

San Pedro and Palo Verdes

Cabrillo Aquarium Gift Shop
3720 Stephen White Dr
San Pedro, California 90731
(310) 548-7562

William’s Book Store
443 West 6th Street
San Pedro, California 90731
(310) 832-3631
All kinds of books and signings

The Book Frog
550 Deep Valley Dr
Rolling Hills Estates, California 90274
Lots of books but I don’t see any fiction

Compton, Bellflower, Norwalk

Books and Bits
11806 186th St
Artesia, California 90701
(562) 809-9110
Indian, Iranian, Pakistani

One Dollar Bookstore
4661 Silva St
Lakewood, California 90712
Used bookstore. All books are one dollar

A Castle of Books
4302 Atlantic Ave.
Long Beach, California 90807
(562) 448-ACOB (2262)
Buy, trade, sell, used, rare, new. Currently looking for Art, Military, Transportation (Cars, Ships, Trains, Planes), and History of very specific subjects

Smiley’s Bookstore
20220 S. Avalon Blvd., Suite D
Carson, California 90746
(310) 324-8444

Manhattan and Redondo Beach

Mysterious Galaxy Redondo Beach
2810 Artesia Blvd.
Redondo Beach, California 90278
(310) 542-6000
Another branch of Mysterious Galaxy

Pages: A Bookstore
904 Manhattan Ave
Manhattan Beach, California 90266-5538
(310) 318-0900
Author events galore

South Los Angeles

Classic One Herbs and Books
1425 W. Manchester Ave
Los Angeles, California 90047
Description says it’s a bookstore

Zahara’s Books and Things
900 N La Brea Ave
Inglewood, California 90312
(310) 330-1300
Books, magazines, etc.

Eso Won Books
4331 Degnan Blvd.
Los Angeles, California 90008
(323) 290-1048
Looks to be all kinds of books.

Trojan Bookstores
840 Childs Way
Los Angeles, California 90089-2540
(213) 740-9036
USC Bookstore

Santa Monica and Beverly Hills

Beyond Baroque Bookstore
681 Venice Blvd
Venice, California 90291
(310) 822-3006
Poetry-centric, bad link

Mystic Journey Bookstore
1319 Abbot Kinney Blvd
Venice, California 90291-3739
(310) 399-7070
Spiritual exploration

Small World Books
1407 Ocean Front Walk
Venice, California 90291-3605
(310) 399-2360
Fiction, mystery, science fiction and poetry

Barry R. Levin Science Fiction and Fantasy Literature
720 Santa Monica Blvd
Santa Monica, California 90401-2602
(310) 458-6111

Alias Books
1650 Sawtelle Blvd
Los Angeles, California 90025
310 473 4442
Used books

CG Jung Bookstore
10349 W. Pico Blvd
Los Angeles, California 90064
310-556-1193 ext 228
Entirely about the life of CG Jung

Diesel, a Bookstore, Brentwood
225 26th St.
Santa Monica, California 90402-2541
(310) 576-9960
Lots of author events, looks like all kinds of books

Village Books
1049 Swarthmore Ave
Pacific Palisades, California 90272
(310) 454-4063
Link goes to a restaurant - whaaaa?

Central Los Angeles and Hollywood

12348 Ventura Blvd
Studio City, California 91604
(310) 358-2500
Children’s books

Bodhi Tree Bookstore
8585 Melrose Ave
West Hollywood, California 90069-5105
(310) 659-4428
Dedicated to the growth of a peaceful world through personal transformation

Traveler’s Bookcase
8375 W. 3rd Street
Los Angeles, California 90048
(323) 655-0575
Looks almost exclusively travel books, I found one that looks like a mystery

LA County Museum of Art Bookshop
5905 Wilshire Blvd.
Los Angeles, California 90036-4504
(323) 857-6147

Dawson’s Bookshop
535 N Larchmont Blvd
Los Angeles, California 90004-1372
(323) 469-2186
Antiquarian books

Chevalier’s Books
126 North Larchmont Boulevard
Los Angeles, California 90004-3705
(323) 465-1334
Adult fiction, art books, children’s books

Skylight Books
1818 North Vermont Avenue
Los Angeles, California 90027
(323) 660-1175
General bookstore, events, etc.

1716 Sunset Blvd.
Los Angeles, California 90026
Cool little indie store, looks like they have it all

Aldine Books
1498 W Sunset Blvd # 2
Los Angeles, California 90026
(213) 482-0264‎
A “hidden treasure”

Kinokuniya Bookstore
123 Onizuka St #205
Los Angeles, California 90012
(213) 687-4480
I can’t tell what this is

The Last Bookstore
453 S. Spring St.
Los Angeles, California 90013
(213) 488-0599
Looks like they have a lot of all kinds of books

Caravan Bookstore
550 South Grand Ave.
Los Angeles, California 90071
(213) 626-9944
“Cool little book nook”

Glendale and Pasadena

Mystery and Imagination
238 N. Brand Blvd.
Glendale, California 91203
(818) 545-0206
Looks like a lot of mystery, sci-fi and horror

Book-em Mysteries
1118 Mission Street
South Pasadena, California 91030-3212
(818) 799-9600
Indie mystery bookstore

Distant Lands Travel Books and Outfitter
56 South Raymond Avenue
Pasadena, California 91105-1935
(626) 449-3220
Travel guides, etc. They have a lot of lectures about places

Apostrophe Books
340 E. Colorado Blvd
Pasadena, California 91101
(626) 744-9630

Cliff's Books
630 E Colorado Blvd
Pasadena, California 91101

Vroman's Bookstore
695 East Colorado Boulevard
Pasadena, California 91101
(626) 449-5320
Fabulous indie store

North Hollywood and Studio City

Books in the Belfry
5453 Satsuma Ave.
North Hollywood, California 91601
(818) 943-4695

Geographia Map and Travel Bookstore
4000 West Riverside Drive
Burbank, California 91505-4328
(818) 848-1414
Travel books


  1. Thanks for putting this together! I'd thought about doing this some time back, but never did.

    A couple notes:

    - Mystery Ink (HB) is open by appointment only. That makes me wonder how much traffic they get.

    - Bookman (Orange) carries only a tiny number of new books. They weren't interested when I asked what it would take for them to carry my novel; they said they concentrate on well-known titles they know they can sell. The best way in there is to have someone who buys one of your print books elsewhere trade it in for store credit.

    1. Lance, are you in the So Cal area? I had no idea.

      And yeah, I am finding that bookstores offering mostly USED books aren't a good bet if you want to sell your books at full price. Their customers don't enter the store expecting to pay full price for a book, so full priced books don't sell. If you're willing to offer a 50% discount to the customer (on top of the bookstore cut), then you can potentially move more inventory, but something to be aware of.

      On the other hand, they might be a good idea for books that have been returned and are no longer in new condition.

  2. This list is perfect. I live in So Cal too and am attempting to launch a book in November. This list gives me a place to start. I really appreciate you sharing your hard earned research.