Triton Times 2016 SC Best of – Bookstores

By, Jahfreen Alam | Writer  &  Kelsey Morales | Writer

March 3rd, 2016

Mathom House Books


83 Via Pico Plaza


Mathom House Books specializes in books that are normally hard to find, out of print, rare, and used. Unique to Mathom House, the laid-back environment combined with a nerdy atmosphere creates an ideal hangout for closet bookworms and self-proclaimed bibliophiles alike. When faced with the might of towering bookcases stocked to the ceiling with genres ranging from beloved classics and exhilarating sci-fi to the newest of young adult novels, the variety of books available both astound customers and make them feel at home.

Brandy at Mathom House Books explained, “We have a lot of books that aren’t in print and a huge collection of sci-fi and bestsellers all at an inexpensive price.”

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We went to the store to ask Chuck, the owner, his thoughts on what separates Mathom House from other bookstores in San Clemente. Chuck responded thoughtfully, “I feel that our knowledge and passion sets us apart. We are very good at matching books with people, and we’re able to explain why a book is good to a customer and I enjoy hearing from other people what books are good.”

Another aspect unique to Mathom House is the well-known tutoring service provided by Bill Anderson, who makes numerous appearances across many high school students’ Snapchat stories. When surrounded by a plethora of books, you can’t help but to feel more studious.

Feel free to visit Mathom House Books if you’re looking for a bookstore with an enormous, yet impressive selection along with an outlet to feed into the nerdier side of you. While Mathom House is closed on Easter Sunday, Thanksgiving, and Christmas Day, thankfully it’s open the rest of the year
. The hours are listed below.


Monday – Friday: 10 am – 7 pm
Saturday: 10 am – 6 pm
Sunday: 12:30 – 6:30

Village Book Exchange

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99 Avenida Serra


Characterized by a comfy and cozy atmosphere, Village Book Exchange is a hallmark of San Clemente bookstores. Located in downtown San Clemente, where all the magic happens, Village offers their own extensive inventory of new and used hard copies and paperbacks to hungry bookworms. There are two main seating sections, one ideal for children and the other for everyone. Either way, you don’t want to go home before nestling in and opening a new book.

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A few things that Village offers, exclusive to Village customers, are their deals: all used fiction paperbacks are sold at half the published price, and for their trade policy, they give a quarter of the published price in store credit for purchasing used fiction paperbacks. These special steals have created an army of loyal customers and continue to build strong relationships with local residents.

We asked Madeline, an employee, what she thought specifically appealed to people about Village. She replied, “I think because it’s comfortable and relaxed. It’s been here forever. We used to have a cat and people like animals. Plus, we’re friendly! And who doesn’t like books?”

She makes a compelling argument, seeing as nobody can resist the temptation of a good read for a good price. Village Book Exchange is perfect for those seeking a pleasant and homey environment to delve into a new novel. The hours are listed below.


Mon – Sat: 9:30 a.m to 5:30 p.m
Sunday: 10 am to 4 p.m

Friends of the Library Bookstore

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242 Avenida Del Mar


Nothing brings a better sense of community to San Clemente than this bookstore completely comprised of donations. The variety within this bookstore is incomparable to others, because the residents who donate their books include all ages and all interests. The genres include anything from “teen novels” to “oversized art books,” and promise unique finds to those who know just where to look.

One of the most noticeable qualities of The Friends of the Library Bookstore is the potential it possesses. We asked Dolly V. and Kathy L., volunteers at the bookstore, what they thought Friends of the Library had to offer that set it apart from other bookstores such as Village and Mathom, which are arguably more popular. Kathy replied solemnly, “Our volunteers. They’re very friendly; they work hard in here. People come in sometimes just to come and say hi to a volunteer. Honestly, that’s probably not what someone else would say, but since I’m in charge of the volunteers, that’s what I believe. Also, the citizens of San Clemente are very, very generous. We get tons of donations, and all these books were donated to us– we don’t buy books, and we don’t pay anybody. The citizens of San Clemente are just incredible with their support.

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By the community and for the community, Friends of the Library is a growing treasure trove ready for exploration. Consider stopping by The Friends of the Library Bookstore to pick up a few novels or donate a few. Don’t forget that there’s a sale the first Sunday of every month. Store hours are listed below along with donation hours.


Monday – Saturday: 10 a.m – 4 p.m

1st Sunday of the month: 9 a.m – 1 p.m

Donation Hours:

Mon.–Sat. 10 a.m – 4 p.m

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