The last remaining bookstores

Alex Curran

Prior to the rise in chain consumerism in the ‘90s, bookstores used to be a local and community hangout. With chains like Barnes and Nobel, Borders and Crown Books pushing mom and pop stores out of business, those community gatherings took a major hit. A bookstore would not just host celebrity book-signing events to sell the  book they “wrote,” it would showcase local artists. With the decline in book sales, both local and chain bookstores are going out of business. Here are a few of the remaining LA book stores that cater to the community instead of the almighty dollar.

The Last Bookstore

453 S. Spring St. – Ground Floor
Los Angeles, CA 90013
Monday to Thursday: 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Friday to Saturday: 10 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Sunday: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

The Last Bookstore is a huge museum of books that just so happens to sell them as well. The two-story bookstore in the heart of Downtown LA has a huge collection of new and used books, magazines, records and anything that one would need to go along with their personal budding library. From the entrance, a reception desk made entirely of books is visible. The bottom floor has shelves and shelves bulging with books encircling an open area that is reserved for community events. The Last Bookstore routinely holds poetry reading and open mic nights but also lends itself to bigger events that take over the entire bookstore like Zinefest. Zinefest brought people from all over the world to talk, buy, sell and trade zines.

Upstairs, where everything is $1, is where the Last Bookstore gets really unique. From the color coded book sorting, to the tunnel of books, to the art display that makes you feel as though you are in a Salvador Dali painting. The focus of the Last Bookstore is to entertain and bring together the community

Skylight Books

1818 N. Vermont Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90027
Monday to Sunday: 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Some places are such a major part of a community that if they were gone, a piece of that community would be missing. This is what skylight books is to Silverlake. The bookstore has a main room that is a pretty typical local bookstore. it has a great selection and a very knowledgeable staff but is nothing out of the ordinary. The other room is where the Skylight stands out. It is a room full of magazines from wall to wall. The room has a huge selection of magazines that most bookstores do not offer. Along with magazines, Skylight is very friendly to the minizine world. Zines from around the block to around the world are on display. Skylight promotes local artists and community involvement which makes is such a vital part of Silverlake.

Stories Books and Cafe

1716 W. Sunset Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90026
Monday to Thursday: 8:30 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Friday: 8:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Saturday: 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Sunday: 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Chain bookstores teamed up with chain coffee shops to create a mom and shop destroying duo that copied a local bookstore system. Stories in Echo Park offers people a place to buy a book, buy a coffee and sit down and spend the day with it. The bookstore is a perfect place to study alone or in groups. The store has a lot of comfortable seating and really delicious coffee and tea. It also has it fair share of open mic nights that helps out the community. The warm-cozy feel of Stories is a great place to escape with a book or for a last minute cram session.

Photo by Alex Curran
Photo by Alex Curran

Photo by Alex Curran