A Guide to LA's Indie Bookstores

Arcana Books in Culver City
Arcana Books in Culver City | © Peter Bjork / Flickr
Kayleigh Roberts

In a time when Amazon reigns supreme in the world of books and more people are trading paperbacks for Kindles, bookstores seem like an endangered species—particularly in Los Angeles. Some of the biggest booksellers in the world are closing their doors, which tends to make readers worry about the independent ones. Here are six great indie bookstores in Los Angeles that deserve support.

1. Skylight Books

Bookstore, Shop

Skylight Books
© Cory Doctorow / Flickr

Skylight Books in Los Feliz, Los Angeles is a hidden treasure. The indie bookstore, conveniently located near Hollywood, Silverlake, and Echo Park, opened in 1996 and is a favorite of local artists and writers. Skylight hosts meet-and-greets and signings with authors and carries a wide variety of books, from literary fiction to science and history books. Next door, Skylight even has an Arts Annex specializing in comic books, graphic novels, and books about media.

2. The Last Bookstore, Los Angeles

Bookstore, Store

the last bookstore
© Jennifer Boyer / Flickr
The Last Bookstore is California’s largest new and used book and record store. Not only is the selection incredible, the store is practically a piece of art in and of itself. There’s an arch of books and secret passageways and hidden rooms in the huge, two-story shop. The Last Bookstore also hosts events and touring authors.

3. Vroman's


Located in Pasadena, Vroman’s is Southern California’s oldest independent bookstore. The cozy store is a favorite meeting space for writers and bookworms alike. In addition to a robust selection of books, Vroman’s offers workshops and classes and offers ten different book clubs for adults and children. The store hosts more than 400 free community events every year.

4. Small World Books


Small World Books
© Damian Gadal / Flickr

Located on the bustling Venice Beach boardwalk, Small World Books is governed by the principle that the book you want is the book you should have—and the store’s staff is dedicated to making that happen. They’re so dedicated to that mission, in fact, that they invite potential customers in search of their next great literary love to email them for suggestions. If patrons send the bookstore a list of books they like, the staff will work to craft custom recommendations.

5. Arcana: Books on the Arts


Arcana Books
© Peter Bjork / Flickr

Arcana: Books on the Arts has been open in Culver City, California since 1984. The shop specializes in new, rare, and out of print books on 20th- and 21st-century photography, art, design, architecture, fashion, cinema, and music. With an extensive stock of more than 100,000 items, Arcana has just about everything an art or culture lover could ask for.

6. Book Soup

Bookstore, Store

book soup
© Carolyn / Flickr
Located on the Sunset Strip in West Hollywood, Book Soup carries more than 60,000 titles in a range of genres from the arts to literary non-fiction. The store is a favorite among avid book collectors thanks to the signed book copies it carries and the and the robust calendar of author events it hosts. Book Soup, open since 1975, is even known to serve celebrity clientele.

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