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Browsing for Readers' Opinions

September 03, 1986

SAN DIEGO — What is your favorite bookstore? people were asked at random one day downtown:

Joseph Shaara, 47, Imperial Beach:

"Wahrenbrock's, definitely. I've known those guys since I came from New York 17 years ago. There they are, in downtown San Diego, selling new and used books right beside each other, not even bothering to separate them. I love it. They're really tremendous people, those guys. They have a great, great store."

Larry Schierech, 33, San Diego:

"Judging from the travel section alone, Harcourt Brace Jovanovich is easily the best. Crown Books is good, and B. Dalton in Mission Valley is really good. Am I offended by chains? Hardly. Look at HBJ. That's a tremendous corporation, and it hasn't affected their judgment. The best bookstore in town was Mithras Books in La Jolla. It closed down, though, when the old Unicorn Theatre died."

Barbara Orr, 36, Escondido:

"I generally shop at Crown, 'cause it's closer to my house. But HBJ has a much better selection. If you want quality, you'd go to HBJ."

Jane Greene, 38, La Mesa:

"HBJ is the best because of its architecture section. They've got a lot of great books on architecture. I'm an architect, so I know. I also like them for more personal reasons. My brother is an illustrator, and they're the only store in the county that carries his book. HBJ has more of an intellectual atmosphere. It's so much better than the Doubledays of the world."

Ken Bonus, 34, North Park:

"HBJ. Without a doubt. The breadth of selection in general as well as children's books for the little monsters at home makes it the best. Thirdly, its amount of new fiction and not just best-sellers. They seem to care about literary content."

Susan Isley-Paradise, 39, Normal Heights:

"It's a tossup between HBJ and B. Dalton. It depends on what you're looking for. My specialty is psychology, so HBJ comes out stronger in that category. B. Dalton has a better general selection, though HBJ has higher quality. B. Dalton is less sophisticated, less intellectual. I'm not offended by chains, I'm just happy there are any bookstores still around. People should start reading books and quit watching so much blasted television."

Phil Harris, 39, La Jolla:

"Hunter's in La Jolla. It's unique in having lots of nice used books as well as new. And it's right on the way home."

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