Thank You from DIESEL, A Bookstore


Dear Reader,

We are thankful for the support that has been shown to the store in myriad ways.  Thankful, too, for still being able to allow people into the store.  We've been careful about the numbers of people in the store and are doing appointments to make things run smoother.

Please give us a call before coming in and we can schedule a 15 minute appointment for you.  This minimizes lines, saves you time, and gives you unharried time in the store.  Of course, DIESEL booksellers will be at the ready with able recommendations for best gifts and finding just the right books.  We are very good at that!

As with many businesses this season, we anticipate shortages on books and distribution delays.  This is why November is the new December, and it's best to get your shopping done early.  We are open 10-6 M-F, and 10-5 Saturday and Sunday.  We are ready, happy to wrap, and working to make the most of these difficult times!

Thanks for your support and encouragement.  We look forward to sharing the wide world of books with you, your family, and friends this season.  It is important to stay in touch with each other.  And books, and bookstores, are two time-honored ways to do just that. 

Alison, John & all DIESELFolk

Thank You! Help DIESEL, A Bookstore Keep Going ~ Johnny 99 Fund


Dear Reader,

We want to thank each of you for your support these last 8 months.  It has been so warming, encouraging, and enspiriting to see you, talk with you, and discuss books with you.

We need your help these days, more than ever, and in ways we never anticipated.  Your generous support of our GoFundMe campaign has reached 40% of our goal, to date.  You have kindly bought books online; ordered them online, for pickup and for shipping; bought gift certificates; joined our program for streaming audio from our website; and downloaded ebooks from our website, too.

Your support in these ways has empowered us to not only continue trying to financially stay afloat through these troubling times, but stay strong emotionally and psychologically.  We feel an even greater commitment to, and sense of belonging with, our community of readers and booklovers. 

This month is the launch of two great promotions for booksellers nationwide. November Is The New December is spreading the news that this holiday season will have exceptional challenges precipitating from the Covid epidemic , including problems with paper shortages, distribution and reduced publisher print runs.   In short, the expectation is that many more titles than usual will become unavailable later in the season, so that getting the books you want as gifts may become difficult by December --- so get them now!  And booklovers say: Books Make the Best Gifts!
The other promotion is #BoxedOut – which addresses another structural problem in publishing, book culture, and independent bookselling – Amazon and other big box retailers.  Not invested culturally in the values of book culture, they attempt to corner the market of books, as products, and drive out their community-oriented competitors in local markets, putting publishers and independents at vital risk.

#BoxedOut, is asking booklovers to see the big picture of what is happening to book culture, and make sound decisions on behalf of that culture by supporting their local independent bookstores with all of their book-related purchases and gift-giving. 

We are glad and proud that these two separate, but linked, promotions are available this season to encourage us each to vote with our dollars, support the communities we want and need, and spend our money in line with our values.  Voting doesn’t stop on election day!

We also want to thank those in the media and those who have broadcast our situation in an attempt to help us weather this storm.  Thanks for forwarding our emails, links to our GoFundMe, and emailing those you know as well.  And thanks to the newspapers, individuals and book people who have supported us through interviews, podcasts, and articles informing people of ways they can help, and why they should.  Here is some of their work:

LATimes, Wendy Paris
Channel 10 News, Mimi Elkalla
Bookstories, Vik Singh
LATimes, Dorany Pineda
Times of San Diego, Hoe Quach
Skylight Books, Maddie Gobbo
LA Times, Dorany Pineda
The Argonaut, Bliss Bowen
The Argonaut, Bliss Bowen

In Gratitude,

Alison, John & all DIESELfolk

UPDATE: Help DIESEL, A Bookstore Keep Going ~ Johnny 99 Fund +more!


Dear Reader,

Autumn has arrived!  What a year!

We want to express our gratitude for the overwhelmingly generous response to our GoFundMe campaign.  Begun two and a half weeks ago, we are now over a quarter of the way toward our goal. 

The notes, letters, comments and conversations have been so heartfelt, encouraging, and fortifying – buoying up our spirits.  As you know, we are trying to stay afloat, and the donations are helping that to happen.  We have learned that sharing our GoFundMe as widely as possible, raises awareness and prompts others to help.

In the store, CDC guidelines say we should only have about 7 people in the store at a time.  We know that it can be frustrating, and are grateful to those who thank us every day for respecting the health protocols.  We are open for browsing now, a couple people or a group at a time, for 15 minutes.  Feel free to give us a call to reserve your time. We are sorry for any inconvenience this causes and hope you understand the necessities.

You probably saw the LA Times piece last week, which kindly brought attention to our store’s situation.  This spurred more sharing of the news, and more contributions.  If you are willing to share the LA Times story or our campaign, with your lists, that would be greatly appreciated.  Here is a link to the LA Times article: Brentwood’s DIESEL launches a GoFundMe. This is the link to DIESEL's Go Fund Me.

Again, thanks for all of your support – whether through buying books, donations, or forwarding our story to people you know. 

We are planning to make it through all of this together. Please stay strong, healthy & well-read.

Alison, John & all DIESELfolk

Help DIESEL, A Bookstore Keep Going ~ Johnny 99 Fund


Dear Reader,

We have always seen our bookselling as an ecology of people, ideas, experiences, places, and conversation.  We are subject to vicissitudes, ups and downs, as part of the wider society and culture, as all of us are.  But Covid-19 has had consequences like no other.

We have tried to weather this storm, with creative reinvention, hard work, and perseverance, as we always have.  We've managed to keep our booksellers afloat financially and with the necessary health care.  But at this point, our stores are foundering. 

We've had wonderful support from our customers: ordering books, buying gift certificates, switching to us for their ebooks and streaming audio.  But it is not enough, given our rent, operating expenses and our publisher debt, to sustain us. 

So we are asking for your support to restore us to a sustainable level, to make it through this taxing time.  We know we are not alone in struggling to survive.  Many independent businesses lack the resources and financial support to make it through this extended challenge.  Many aren't making it, and we hope not to be one of them.

We have resisted this appeal to our wider community but now we are running out of time.  It is either this, or ending our run as a quality independent bookstore.  If there is anything you can do to help to keep us going, it would be greatly appreciated. Please contribute if you can.

If you would please share this Go Fund Me with those you know, far and wide, we may be able to get the support we need.  This is how ecologies work, under strain.  As biologist Robin Wall Kimmerer says "When times are easy and there's plenty to go around, individual species can go it alone. But when conditions are harsh and life is tenuous, it takes a team sworn to reciprocity to keep life going forward."

As Bruce Springsteen says in Johnny 99: "Now judge I got debts no honest man could pay".

We hope to be able to pay our debts, and to keep providing great books and great conversations to our communities for many years to come.  We cherish, and desperately need, your support at this time.

Thanks for all of your support these many years.  May there be many more!

With Gratitude & Respect,
Alison Reid, John Evans & all DIESELfolk

Independent Bookstore Day -- Saturday August 29th!


Join us for Independent Bookstore Day, Saturday, August 29th, a celebration of local, independent bookstores and their communities. This year, bookstores are celebrating with online events. These online events range from discussions with authors, to drawing classes, to readings.

What is DIESEL doing for Independent Bookstore Day? We'll be giving out prizes with purchases and selling event-exclusive items! (While supplies last.) At our Del Mar location, we'll be giving out limited edition San Diego Book Crawl pins designed by Susie Ghahremani.

Online Events for Independent Bookstore Day

Independent Bookstore Day Exclusive Items For Sale

San Diego Book Crawl

Latest News About DIESEL in Del Mar


Dear Reader,

We are now open, by appointment and walk-up, for one-at-a-time browsing from 11-4 daily at our bookstore at Del Mar Highlands Town Center! 

You can email or call us (, (858) 925-7078) to reserve a 20-minute time to browse during those hours, either by yourself or with a small group or family.  You can also just walk up and browse at the store, if no other person or group is currently browsing.  We will require masks to be worn and hand sanitizer used, before entering the store.

We recommend and sell books in person at the door, by phone, online and via email.  You can browse our sections online, by clicking the Browse Del Mar tab. We ship; provide streaming audio online; and sell ebooks through our website, too – the whole shebang!

Have you checked in on our Elevenses events?  They are our daily 11 o'clock events -- publisher reps presenting great new titles; Children's Storytime videos; Ask A Bookseller; and video book reviews by booksellers, and others! They are on Facebook, Crowdcast and our website ~ join the fun! Please come to our website,, for our upcoming, current, and past events.

Thanks to all of you for your support of our store through this strenuous time.   We hope to continue to supply you, your friends and your families with books for beach, school and home for many years to come.

Stay strong, healthy & well-read!
Alison, John & all DIESELfolk

Black Lives Matter


Dear Reader,

Our letters over the last two months have been focused on the coronavirus.  Now we are dealing with a centuries-old plague that has never been successfully defeated in our country – structural racism.  The video of George Floyd’s death under the hands and knees of three Minneapolis policemen has traumatized a nation not because it is new, but because it is so vividly horrific, pornographic, and obscene that anyone who sees it clearly experiences the cold-eyed, heartless violence that has been visited on black bodies and souls for 500 years.

The passionate outrage by caring human beings throughout the whole country and the world has been, and continues to be, extraordinary.  The success of this massive intention to create a racially just police force and society is yet to be seen. 

Our readers have responded with an increased desire to be better anti-racists, better at transforming our city, state and country to be a more just society.  Enough is enough.  May the protests continue until justice, not structural racist violence, reigns. 

Publishers’ books have gone back to reprint as the desire for these books rises.  We are glad to provide them to you, in times of surging interest, and in times of relative neglect.  We have a list of books at the end of this email.

People have also asked us about other ways that they can help.  Joining peaceful protests is an obvious choice.  Another is to volunteer for organizations; write letters, emails and make calls to elected representatives; and express your outrage and the need for systemic justice to all you know, especially to those more distant intentionally or emotionally from this necessity.

People, more concerned about the dangers of viral exposure that protests may present, have been interested in how to donate.  There are many places to find and assess the efficacy of organizations working toward a just and equitable world.

For us, these organizations have maintained a mostly decades-long commitment to exactly these issues, working in the trenches to improve fatally unjust structures of our society:

Equal Justice Society

Southern Poverty Law Center

Black Lives Matter

The NAACP Legal Defense Fund

The Equal Justice Initiative

There are many others, of course, but these are a few. 

As to books, here are just a few – but really, there are hundreds and thousands of relevant books, depending on what you need to know about; work on; and work toward.  We are always glad to help you on your path to greater knowledge, more commitment, and more effective activism to make our world a better, more just, more compassionate, and more creative place.  You know where to find us.

How to be an Anti-Racist by Ibram X. Kendi

White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo

The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin

Stamped by Jason Reynolds and Ibram X. Kendi

The Undefeated by Kwame Alexander & Kadir Nelson

Thanks for your support, your curiosity, and your moral outrage.  Stay strong, healthy, well-read and please help to make a more just and equitable world.  It is all of our responsibility.

John, Alison and all DIESELfolk

Store Update as of May 21st


Dear Reader,

Hope you are well!

We are exceptional at recommending; offer a wondrous selection of books; have both print and digital gift certificates; wrap, ship, and special order.  Please make use of this community resource so that we can help you for years to come.

Humor, music, and entertainment have helped to sustain us through all of this, as they have humans since time immemorial!  Art too, let's please not forget art – in all of its forms. 

We are here to help you find books that entertain, engage, and inform.  You can communicate with us by phone and at the store, for recommendations and pickup only (Monday to Saturday 10-3),  or online and via email – all day every day. 

Please share news of our stores with your friends and family and encourage them to support local independent bookstores, wherever they live.  We think we are an important part of the community and culture, and want to be here a year from now, when you are needing books to read and to give.

Thanks for all of your support, and all of your orders these last two months.  It is helping us to weather this storm!

Stay strong, stay healthy & read a book!
Alison, John & all DIESELfolk

P.S. Yes we are promoting our social media and virtual events at this time: please join us on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram

Store Update as of May 10th


Dear Reader,

Hope you are well!

Now that we are in the initial part of Stage 2 of the state’s Covid Response, we wanted to update you on how things are doing at our store.  We are open 10-3 from Monday through Saturday for recommendations, orders, and purchases.  We are not open for browsing, however. 

It is best to order, and pay for, books in advance of picking them up.  We still have limited staffing at the store and are doing our best to provide the professional bookselling to which you’ve become accustomed. 

Shipping times to and from our store are still inconsistent due to the challenges on distribution systems.  It is a long road ahead, and we are struggling to keep the store going, our booksellers employed, and books coming into your homes.

We are again receiving shipments from publishers, with new titles coming in, and our inventory is being replenished daily.  We are glad to help with recommendations, as many of you benefitted from for Mother’s Day!  With graduations, Father’s Day, and the inevitable birthdays and weddings, we are expert at, and love, helping you to find the right books as gifts – and what is a better gift than a book?!

So, online ordering continues for books, digital gift certificates, audiobooks, ebooks, and even donations to help keep DIESEL going through these times.  We are as excited as ever to amplify your reading pleasure, engagement, and curiosity.  We look forward to seeing your faces at our door, and hopefully in the store, soon.

Thanks for all of your support through this time, and in the months to come!

Alison, John & all DIESELfolk

Books are the best way to social distance
and connect to the whole world.

Happy 90th Birthday Gary Snyder!


Today -- May 8, 2020 -- is poet, essayist, and climate justice advocate Gary Snyder's birthday! Please enjoy this special video of our very own, John Evans, reading a small excerpt of Gary's work and join us in wishing Gary Snyder a wonderful 90th birthday by posting your own videos on social media reading a favorite work by Snyder - whether that's a poem, a stanza, or even a brief passage of prose! Be sure to use #GarySnyder90 and tag us (@dieselbookstore/@dieseldelmar) and Counterpoint Press (@counterpointpress). Again, on behalf of DIESEL, a very happy birthday to Gary Snyder!




And be sure to check out this incredible interview from the Brockport Writers Forum archive! It's a favorite clip of ours and a strange, interesting, and timely, time capsule of a video from 1972!! On the day after Nixon's re-election, Snyder talks about poetry, politics, ecology, and eating deer. This clip is an edited version of a 45-minute interview recorded on November 8, 1972. For more visit