Rizzoli, it isn't.

There are no clearly delineated aisles, no bright signs telling people what subject is in what row, no window display of new releases.

The books at Apollo Book Store in Costa Mesa are stacked on the floor with no seeming rhyme or reason, magazines commingle with hardback books, and newspapers are found in a variety of spots.

But there are many diamonds in the rough to be found, as Apollo keeps its inventory up to date with rare and out-of-print books and first editions.

"We get a lot of browsers," said Mary-Alice Currie, who owns the store with her husband, James L. (Lindy) Currie.

"Nautical books are our specialty, voyaging and things that pertain to the ocean and the sea. We also have a lot of books on Western Americana. Come to think of it, we have used books on every conceivable subject."

Back issues of general-interest magazines like Life are also available at the store, as well as others covering a variety of topics, including cars, boating, art and architecture.

The store has been at its same location on 18th Street for 29 years, but, unfortunately, it won't see its 30th year there. Currie said they recently got a notice to vacate the site. Their landlord plans to tear down the building that houses Apollo and build anew.

"We will close sometime around mid-September," Currie said. "We're looking for other sites, but if we don't find one soon we might become mail-order only."

With the impending closure, Apollo has stopped buying most used books and magazines, with an eye toward moving its mammoth inventory.

Currie said there are "thousands, if not tens of thousands" of books, magazines and newspapers in the store. "We don't keep a number on inventory."

The pricing system is based on the research they do on the availability of the book or magazine, Currie said.

"Age is not necessarily the criterion we use," she said. "If there weren't very many printed or a lot of things available on the particular subject it covers, the price will be more."

Hardback books generally run in the $6 to $20 range, while magazines are a few dollars less.

The store also sells Sunday editions of out-of-town newspapers from 18 U.S. cities, Currie said.

"Most people buy them if they are planning to move soon, to scan the classified ads, for housing and such," Currie said. "Seattle's (paper) has been a big seller for a long time."

So if you're going to browse at Apollo, do it soon. There are only a handful of diamond-hunting days left.

Hours: 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday-Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday

Address: 545 W. 18th St., Costa Mesa

Telephone: (714) 646-7045

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