Here in San Diego I am uniquely lucky to have access to so many amazing independent local stores. One of my favorite areas is North Park which features Instagram icons Coffee + Flowers and Flap Your Jacks amongst a colorful assortment of restaurants, boutiques, and coffee shops.
Recently, I was enamored by a large raspberry and teal building that announced itself as Verbatim Books. Immediately upon entering, I was enticed to the far right corner which features an exciting farrago of zines — some widely distributed, others locally published.
Scattered throughout the store are comfortable armchairs, an open invitation for guests to sit and stay awhile. Many of the customers seemed to be regulars, being greeted by employees by name. This eclectic bookstore is clearly a beloved member of the community, providing support and exposure to many of San Diego’s own artists and authors.
The store also has a unique feature in that it purchases used books from those who choose to bring in their own collection for inspection. This encourages a sustainable approach to book buying, capitalizing on the beloved cyclicality of a pre-loved book. At the front counter they feature many books no longer in print: collectibles relinquished from prior owner and now seeking another adventure.
This spacious bookstore secedes a small portion of the building’s footprint to its sister risograph printing company, Burn All Books. Unfortunately, the printer has been closed since the COVID-19 lockdown but I hope to be able to visit them sometime soon.
Verbatim books has an extensive and meticulously organized collection of used books and browsing them is an enjoyable outing in the welcoming storefront. The staff are amicable and knowledgable, providing a selection of generous recommendations. The community aspect is also easily palpable upon entering and it is immediately clear that Verbatim books is a store you can feel good about spending your money at. If you ever find yourself in the area, I cannot recommend it enough. Also, it is surrounded by a plethora of delicious eateries, making it an easy way to spend a Saturday.