The 10 Best Bookstores in Los Angeles

The Last Bookstore, LA | © vagueonthehow/Flickr
The Last Bookstore, LA | © vagueonthehow/Flickr
Photo of Renée Fabian
4 May 2017

Whether it’s downtown or next to the beach, Los Angeles has a bookstore for every bibliophile. We’ve saved you the trouble of combing through them all, and have here compiled those we’re sure you’ll find to be of most interest. No need to thank us.

Book Soup

Bookstore, Store
book soup
Book Soup in West Hollywood | © Carolyn / Flickr
Located on the Sunset strip in West Hollywood, Book Soup sets itself apart with a robust outdoor newsstand. In addition to their wide selection of magazines, the store has over 60,000 titles; including the arts, controversial non-fiction, and literary non-fiction. Avid book collectors can also find signed book copies and a robust author event calendar. With floor to ceiling shelves, Book Soup has been a neighborhood staple since 1975, and has even been known to serve celebrity clientele.

Children’s Book World

Celebrating its 30th anniversary this upcoming October, Children’s Book World matches youngsters with the perfect literary experience. The store boasts a multicultural selection of over 80,000 titles, high-profile author events, story-times, and mini-concerts by favorite children’s performers. Dedicated to serving the entire city’s young readers, Children’s Book World is involved with the Children’s Book Recycling Center — which donates books to low-income schools and programs — and Readers and Writers Rock!, to bring authors to low-income children or children to Children’s Book World events.

Weird Al Yanovic visits Children’s Book World | Courtesy of Children’s Book World

Counterpoint Records & Books

Counterpoint Records & Books
Counterpoint Records & Books | © Eleanore Studer
Counterpoint Records & Books has a home in Franklin Village below the Hollywood sign, next-door to the original location of the Upright Citizens Brigade comedy club. Not only is the store packed to the hilt with eclectic titles, they also carry a healthy vinyl, CD and DVD selection, all at affordable prices. As a bonus, Counterpoint buys used books and music, and their buyers are expert curators who maintain the shop’s selection of pop culture oddities and popular fiction alike. You can also visit Harmony next door and check out rare collectible books.

Friends Book Shop

The only bookstore in Beverly Hills, Friends Book Shop is connected to the Beverly Hills Public Library to benefit the library’s programs. Friends has been around since 1991 and, because it relies on book donations, has a wide selection and great prices. Browsing the packed shelves can yield first editions, beautiful coffee table books, children’s books, DVDs, CDs, and much more. Bargain hunters will love the $0.25 and $1 sections. Friends Book Shop accepts hardcover and paperback book donations if you’re looking for a worthy place to donate those dusty books.

Iliad Book Shop

Iliad Book Shop is located in North Hollywood, and has one of the largest used book collections in the Los Angeles area. They specialize in books on the arts and literature, and are also known for their selection of graphic novels. Iliad buys, sells and trades used books so avid readers can reinvest their book collection. Film and television buffs may appreciate a visit, as Iliad Book Shop has been featured in projects such as ‘Storage Wars,’ ‘Up All Night’, ‘Bottom Feeders‘, and even commercials for AT&T, among others.

Iliad Book Shop | Courtesy of Iliad Book Shop

Skylight Books

Located in Los Feliz’s central shopping area, Skylight Books has been a Los Angeles favorite for years. Skylight boasts an exceptional book selection, with a special focus on performing and visual arts in the next-door Arts Annex, as well as a nice selection of graphic novels and other unique finds. They also host book groups and attract authors for regular events. Skylight Books’ central locale allows visitors to pick up coffee or a meal before heading inside.

Inside Skylight Books | © Lindsay George

Small World Books

Small World Books carries a large selection of all genres, and is sure to hold the perfect find for every beach reader. Located along the boardwalk of Venice Beach since 1976, this shop displays a strong sense of community. Small World can be seen exhibiting art as part of the bi-monthly Venice Art Crawl. They participate in book drives, and recommend books of the week on their active Facebook page. Escape into Small World Books for a little quiet along the boardwalk, then wander next door to the Sidewalk Cafe for a refreshing beverage.

Small World Books | © Damian Gadal/Flickr

The Last Bookstore

A Los Angeles treasure, The Last Bookstore in downtown Los Angeles is more than a bookstore: it’s an experience. Located in a 22,000-square-foot space, this bookstore is home to more than 250,000 new and used books, records, and more. There’s also the Arts and Rare Book Annex, Labyrinth Above the Last Bookstore, Gather Yarn Shop, and Spring Arts Collective gallery. The Last Bookstore hosts a wide range of creative events, such as The Last Book Review series. As much a cultural destination as a shop, The Last Bookstore is a must-see.

The Last Bookstore | © Akos Kokai/Flickr

Hennessy + Ingalls

Appropriately situated in the Arts District in downtown Los Angeles, Hennessy + Ingall is the visual arts hotspot of the western United States. Hennessy + Ingall has been family-owned since opening in 1963, and has remained the go-to source for out-of-print architecture books. Now, the store specializes in art, architecture, and design books, with an extensive collection and knowledgeable staff. Though Hennessy + Ingall provides books to professional clients such as museums, galleries, and schools, those looking for beautiful visual centerpieces for their book collection will find exactly what they want.

Courtesy of Hennessey + Ingalls

Vroman’s Bookstore

Once holding the distinction as the largest bookstore west of the Mississippi, Vroman’s Bookstore (since 1894) has earned its place among the elite in Los Angeles. The store calls Pasadena its home base, with satellite locations at Los Angeles International Airport. Beyond a wide selection of books, Vroman’s offers textbook rentals, cards, gifts, and stationery. They also host hundreds of free community events each year, including fun activities such as story-time, crafts, and bake-offs. Author signings have become a signature; with Bill Clinton, Jimmy Carter, Ray Bradbury, Barbara Walters, Anne Rice, and Neil Gaiman present in their visitor guest book.

Vroman’s Bookstore | © Russell Gearhart

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