TALL TALES: Despite its ties to UCSD, La Jolla gets more attention for it's shi shi shops than its cerebral qualities. Perhaps that's why a jewel of a joint such as D.G. Wills Books is even more surprising here. Sandwiched between the ceiling and the floor are stacks of new and used books that beg to be browsed. There is even a "secret door" to a back room filled with aged hardcovers. They regularly host readings by authors and poets, so keep an eye on their website for upcoming events.
CROW'S LANDING: If you like your bookstore to be a little more orderly but prefer to skip the big-box feel, hop over to Upstart Crow Trading Company in Seaport Village. From bestsellers to topical paperbacks, this spacious spot offers a vast selection of new books as well as a wall full of boardgames and fun gifts to peruse. Top it off with a full-fledged coffee bar, plentiful seating and free wi-fi for customers, and you've got a prime spot to work, play or simply enjoy some people-watching.
KITTEN CABOODLE: Imagine that you lived in a two-story, multi-bedroom home in Normal Heights. Now imagine that every room in the house was full of books. And you shared it with two adorable cats. That fantasy has basically become a reality at Adams Avenue Book Store, where the maze of surprisingly well-organized new and used books is at once dizzying and enthralling. The prices are also pleasantly affordable, even for large reference books and vintage hardcovers. If you go in, be sure to sign up for their mailing list so you get an invitation to their annual book bash. This exclusive event features refreshments, storewide discounts and, of course, the kitties.