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Warwick's Bookstore Saved By Local Bibliophiles

People walk past Warwick's bookstore in La Jolla, May 15, 2021.
Alexander Nguyen
People walk past Warwick's bookstore in La Jolla, May 15, 2021.
When the owner of Warwick's in La Jolla was given two weeks to meet an all-cash offer of $8.3 million for the building the store had occupied for 70 years, she thought it was curtains.

Warwick’s bookstore in La Jolla has been in business for 125 years, the last 70 in the same building on Girard Avenue.

Fourth-generation Warwicks, Nancy and her sister Cathy Warwick O'Neill, own and operate the store, believed to be the oldest family-owned bookstore in America.

In the midst of negotiating a new lease, the building’s owner told Nancy he had accepted an unsolicited, $8.3 million all-cash offer to buy the building. He gave her two weeks to beat the offer.


Nancy was right in the middle of the proverbial rock (taking a chance the new owner would be generous) and a hard place (closing the store), the latter being the fate of many local bookstores in San Diego.

John Wilkens, feature writer for The San Diego Union-Tribune, talked with Midday Edition about the resolution to this chapter in the Warwick's story, which features former San Diego City Manager Jack McGrory and some three-dozen Warwick's customers, who raised the money, bought the building and extended Warwick's a 10-year lease with options for longer.