#315, Visit a used bookstore
I know I’ve mentioned how much I love books and bookstores. You may even be tired of me singing their praises, but this morning I decided I could not wait any longer. I’ve been hearing about a particular bookstore for a few years now and it was time I flew across town to see it.
The Last Bookstore is California’s largest new & used book and record store. The store is currently in its third incarnation. It began in 2005 in a downtown Los Angeles loft. It now makes its home in a 22,000 sq. ft. space in the Spring Arts Tower at 5th & Spring.
Owner, Josh Spencer, chose the name of the store as an ironic moniker, but as the health of independent booksellers continues to be more threatened by online and chain stores with each passing day, he hopes it isn’t a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Here’s Saul Gonzalez speaking to Josh on KCRW.
In addition to over 250,000 new and used books and records on two floors, there is a new Arts & Rare Book Annex.
The shared space includes tens of thousands of vinyl records and graphic novels, a huge mezzanine level that includes the Labyrinth Above the Last Bookstore, Gather Yarn Shop, and the Spring Arts Collective gallery shops.
I love the addition of the magnifying glasses in the window. Here’s a close-up.
The Spring Arts Collective gallery space upstairs is curated by artists: Andrea Bogdan, Jena Priebe, David Lovejoy, Liz Huston, and Robin McGeough. Situated adjacent to the Spring Arts Collective Gallery are the collective members’ galleries and studio spaces. The hours of the Spring Arts Collective Gallery are the same hours as the Last Bookstore, and individual artists’ shoppe and studio hours vary. You’ll find all the artists there on Saturday from 12pm – 5pm and during the DTLA Artwalk (2nd Thursdays each month) from 6pm – 10pm.
Several parking lots are available nearby as is the Pershing Square Metro station, which makes visiting easy. Simply walk to the corner of 5th and Spring streets and enter The Last Bookstore on 5th. Walk upstairs to the mezzanine level and you’ll see the Spring Arts Collective galleries located across from the bookstore Labyrinth.
Make sure you buy lots of books from The Last Bookstore, and remember that all the books on the second floor are only $1.
As an added bonus, if you walk across the street, there is a great place to stop for a drink. The Down and Out (DNO) is a dark bar with a seedy vibe, but it’s plenty safe. I struck up a conversation with the bouncer at the door and he asked me what I like to read. I told him that I like stories about far off places. He recommended the book, Shantaram.
I love the idea of reading a book recommended by a dive bar bouncer. Even if you don’t drink, stop in to the DNO to grab a soda, use the only public restroom close by, and take a picture against the mug shot wall.
I didn’t have as much time as I would have liked to spend at The Last Bookstore, but I hope to find a day to putter there sometime soon.
258 days to go!