More than an Instagram post: The Last Bookstore in LA
Updated: Aug 18, 2019
If this was truly the world's last bookstore, it would leave nothing left unsaid!
The Last Bookstore in LA appears on many an Instagram feed, and as a book and indie bookstore lover, it has been on my list for quite some time! I at last had a chance to check it out the other week, and it did not disappoint.
The Last Bookstore is inside an old bank, which gives a very regal feel to the space (see all those columns in the photos above). It is massive for an independent bookstore (and record store), and none of that space is wasted. Here's what I loved about it, and why I highly recommend you visit it if given the opportunity:
There's a large selection of both new and used books--and they're placed right next to each other. As I mentioned in my post about Left Bank Books in St. Louis, I love a bookstore that gives you both new and used books in one space. It's always nice to give a pre-owned book another home, and it gives shoppers on a budget an opportunity to show their support. What I really like about The Last Bookstore is that you don't have to venture to another section to browse the used books--they are mixed in, meaning that that newer book you've been eyeing will potentially be next to used copies of it. Again, if you're on a budget, this is a great option (and in my opinion, it is better than the customer going to Amazon just to try and buy it for a few bucks less).
They cover a huge range of genres. Of course, the benefit of a large space means you can fill it with tons of books and you don't have to be selective about the genres you feature. I got really excited when I saw there was a section devoted just to literary non-fiction! Crosby was impressed with the music section, which he browsed while I explored the large memoir section nearby. Whatever you might be interested in reading, there's a very good chance you'll find it here.
A layout and design that delights book lovers and encourages interaction on social. Yep, they nail the whole instagram-worthy thing. It's hard to resist stopping to take a photo at the many unique displays (made of books, of course). This is one spot that really succeeds in making a physical space--and print books--part of a digital experience. I've seen some indie bookstores start putting up signs discouraging photos of any kind, which is more than likely a result of people taking photos of a book just so they can buy it elsewhere. While I get that, it also makes me sad, because it discourages people who simply think your place is cool from taking a photo and spreading the word about you. In The Last Bookstore, you can feel totally comfortable snapping photos and bragging about your visit to all your friends on social (and telling them they're seriously missing out if they don't make their own visit someday). The only downside is that you may have to wait in line to take photos and your book browsing experience might be disrupted by loud teens trying to nail the perfect Instagram picture. But the awesome selection makes up for these disruptions or inconveniences, and honestly, it makes me happy to see so many people excited about being in a bookstore.
The Last Bookstore is successful in being both an amazing bookstore with great selection and a destination/attraction. They do not let us true book lovers down. So if you're ever in the area, put this bookstore near the top of your list!