Booklet Guides to Old Book Shops

Old Book Shop Guides – Overview and Guide to San Diego Book Shops, Many Vanished From History, But  A Few Survive

Paul Hunt

About 40 years ago it was popular for book stores in a local area to band together and publish little folded flyers or guides to shops in the area that sold books. Some listed used book shops only, others had both new and used shops listed. As I come across these in my archives I’m going to publish them. The first one I found is the guide “The Bookstores of San Diego”. This was a directory of the active members of the San Diego Booksellers Association, and is dated 1991/1992 edition.

Aside from an old telephone yellow page directory, these old guides are one of the only surviving listings of local shops. And remember that a bookshop that is NOT a member of a local group may not be listed in their flyer. I remember putting together a guide to book stores in the North Hollywood – Burbank – Glendale area many years ago. I’ll publish it when and if I find a surviving copy. These guides are like a photograph in time, not a complete history. Shops come and go, and if the guides are updated you can notice the additions and subtractions of the stores.

The guides, being ephemeral, were not meant to last forever, and most, of course, did not, so surviving copies, no matter how wrinkled or smudged or coffee stained, are to be treasured. Send them to me so I can post them on this site. Feel free to download and save the guides that I re-print here, print them out and also save them as .pdf files on your computer.

A good project for someone would be to put up a database, with all known used book shops the country, with information as to who the owners are/were, when founded, years of operation, reference notes, websites, addresses, phone numbers, photographs, etc. Maybe this should be part of a university or public library project.

Southern California Independent Boooksellers Association

The link to the Southern California Independent Booksellers, scbabooks.org goes to an “It’s Your Lucky Day” page saying you can buy this site from GoDaddy.

However, The Southern California Independent Booksellers Association is still alive, although I had a bit of trouble finding it. The original site was SCBABOOKS.ORG, I assume standing for Southern California Booksellers Asssociation. The director was Jennifer Bigelow. Clicking on this site (scbabooks.org) takes you to a GoDaddy parking page, site renewal is expired and site will be up for sale. I found an article from 2012 stating that Jennifer Bigelow had resigned as director to spend more time with her family.

The good news is that the Southern California Independent Booksellers Association is alive and well, now at a different website, which is SCIBABOOKS.ORG. You can join for free and access the list of book store members and save it or print it out. This is a great group to belong to if you own a book store.

An ad from the San Diego Book Fair Program Book, 1991

An ad from the San Diego Book Fair Program Book, 1991.  Better call first, this ad was 26 years ago and many of the shops are gone.

San Diego Booksellers

Researching for an article on Southern California Book Shops brought up some interesting things. The old San Diego Booksellers Association website sdbooks.org goes to a GoDaddy parking page, basically meaning the site is up for sale.

I checked the bookmarket.com website, which lists bookseller and bookstore associations, with links you click on. The link to the San Diego Booksellers gives an error message that the site can’t be reached.

I checked the San Diego Book Awards Association, which links up authors to various resources. Their link to the San Diego Booksellers Association is also dead and goes to a search page. Until I can find any information to the contrary I have to assume that the San Diego group has vanished.

However, an old list of San Diego Booksellers can be found on this site: http://www.patentlore.com/sandiego/sdbs_assoc.htm#W
This patent help site has a lot of links, many of which are dead. One trick to get high up in google search is to have a lot of links, which makes google think your site is important. This site has a lot of links, but many are not up to date. The list of Booksellers here is really old, possibly taken from an old guide. Please note that many of the shops listed are out of business or moved, so call first or do more research.

Another site I found regarding San Diego book stores is a google.com map of “San Diego Used Book Stores”. The map lists 13 shops. When you click on any of the shops, the basic information of the store appears, along with a miss-spelling “They Cary” books on such and such topics. This annoying miss-spelling is on all of the links. There is no attribution on who created this map, most of the shops seem to be in business, although clicking on the Parmer Books website it goes to a search page, so they are possibly gone. Also note that their listing of D.G. Wills book store is spelled “Willis”, so be aware of that mistake.

Although many of the old used book shops are gone, there’s still some great stores, like Adams Avenue. In the early days of computer databases I used to train (for free) owners and employees of used book stores on how to use Record Manager and Bookmaster. I think Adams Avenue sent some employees up to our shop for training. I’m thrilled that they are still going strong, they have a fine book shop. Check out their website at: www.adamsavebooks.com., and visit their store when you are in the area.

Another really cool site to check out is D.G. Wills in La Jolla. His website is www.dgwillsbooks.com. Tons of fantastic photos of his previous author events are on the site. He also has a youtube channel with a lot of great videos of famous authors who have appeared at his store. You can find this at: https://www.youtube.com/user/DGWillsBooks. He had some of America’s greatest authors at his book signing events, many of which he thankfully video taped and is sharing for free. This is really a treasure.

Hope you have fun drooling over all the shops that are left.  Click on the Button Below to access the .PDF files for the San Diego Book Shop Booklet list, just remember many of the shops are gone.   You can print these pages out if  you wish, for your “Remember When” fantasy scrapbook!
Click Here

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