7 Iconic Los Angeles Bookstores
by Erica Garza
Those who declare that “print is dead” probably haven’t been to LA. All across the city are iconic bookstores where bibliophiles can browse the latest bestsellers alongside first edition classics, meet authors and even pick up some vinyl. Though the city may be best known for its movie industry and perfect weather, Los Angeles bookstores should not be overlooked. The next time you want to get lost in a book, check out one of these not-to-be-missed literary hotspots.
1. The Last Bookstore, Downtown
453 South Spring Street, Los Angeles, CA 90013
Now in its third incarnation, The Last Bookstore spans 22,000 square feet in the Spring Arts Tower at 5th & Spring downtown. In addition to over 250,000 new and used books across two floors, including their Arts & Rare Book Annex, the aesthetically-pleasing bookstore’s shared space includes thousands of vinyl records and graphic novels, as well as a huge mezzanine level that includes the Labyrinth Above the Last Bookstore, Gather Yarn Shop and the Spring Arts Collective gallery shops.
2. Skylight Books, Los Feliz
1818 North Vermont Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90027
Serving the historic neighborhoods of Hollywood, Los Feliz, Silver Lake, Echo Park, and Downtown, Skylight Books sells the very best in fiction, books on music, art, film and theatre, LA regional culture and history, graphic novels, children’s books, and political theory. The store also boasts an impressive calendar of year-round readings, signings, and other public events.
3. Book Soup, West Hollywood
8818 Sunset Boulevard, West Hollywood, CA 90069
This independent West Hollywood bookstore has operated since 1975 and features over 60,000 titles in art, film, photography, music and literary fiction. Book Soup is also committed to university, international and independent presses, and loves autographed books, so if you’re on the hunt for a gem, this may be your Shangri-La.
4. Small World Books, Venice
1407 Ocean Front Walk, Venice, CA 90291
One of the most unique bookstores in LA matches its equally unique location on the Venice Boardwalk. Small World Books carries a wide selection of titles published by both major and small presses, alluring readers since 1976. As a special treat, its next-door neighbor Sidewalk Café serves literary burgers named after Colette, Pablo Neruda, Dylan Thomas and more.
5. Vroman’s Bookstore, Pasadena
695 East Colorado Boulevard, Pasadena, CA 91101
Founded in 1894 by Adam Clark Vroman, Vroman’s Bookstore is the oldest and largest independent bookstore in Southern California. In addition to selling a vast array of titles across genres, it’s also famous for its author signings and events. The bookstores host 400 free community events a year, including launch parties, children’s storytimes, trivia nights and more.
6. TASCHEN Books, Hollywood
6333 West 3rd Street, CT-10, Los Angeles, CA 90036
Though there is a second location in swanky Beverly Hills, TASCHEN’s Farmers Market address offers a unique contrast with its quaint surroundings, a sliver of elegance amid the market’s bustling food stalls. Browse artful titles on films, filmmakers, art and architecture at this Los Angeles art bookstore. Your coffee table will never look so sophisticated.
7. Children’s Book World, West LA
10580 1/2 West Pico Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90064
Children’s Book World is a full-service children’s bookshop in West LA, stocking over 80,000 titles for children, parents, teachers, and collectors. There is also a wide selection of music, audiobooks, DVDs, craft and science kits and educational guides.
Erica Garza is an author and essayist from Los Angeles. She holds a master’s degree in writing from Columbia University. Her work has appeared in TIME, Health, Glamour, Good Housekeeping, Women's Health, The Telegraph, and VICE.