Used bookstores usually are one of two things — either piles of musty old Harlequin romances and cast off James Patterson grocery store books or a magical labyrinths of book upon book…books you may actually want to read! Downtown Los Angeles is so lucky to have the perfect example of the second type of used bookstore at “The Last Bookstore”.
The Last Bookstore sits right smack dab in the middle of Downtown, which is currently being revived with lots of great art spaces, eateries and independent stores. It has a rough history, so many tourists and even some locals stay away. They’re missing out! Downtown LA buzzes with activity, as it is one of the more pedestrian friendly areas of this notoriously car heavy city. And look at it! It has a very charming NYC/SF feel with those old, tall buildings and fire escapes.
That being said, it definitely does still smell a bit urine-soaked sometimes, but hey, that just comes with the territory.
And THIS is what the interior of The Last Bookstore looks like! The columns! The open floor plan! The crazy book sculpture thingy on the wall! Lovely! You can’t see it in this picture, but there is also a small stage space for readings and events, as well as a tiny little cafe. All the books in the downstairs area are like new and cheap — mostly in the $3-6 range. I love that books are arranged by subject and alphabetically, as some used bookstores can just kind of lump everything together into unorganized mounds of books. The Last Bookstore actually makes its stock look good.
And upstairs! The upstairs level is being opened a bit at a time, and, for the moment, it’s all $1 books! Good ones too! Not just the cast offs! I found a hardcover copy of Stephen King’s The Tommyknockers, Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere, a pretty little copy of Tolkein’s The Hobbit and a pristine copy of Bill Bryson’s A Short History of Nearly Everything for the bf for a buck each! These books are less well organized, which means it takes FOREVER to sift through all of them, but what a wonderful time!
This was the final haul! And the final price? Only $28. Yep. The Last Bookstore will buy your old used books off you for store credit, so I had $18 towards it already. All in all, the most successful book buying experience I’ve had in a while. If you’re in LA, you must, must, must head Downtown and check it out!