A Labyrinth of Books, Art, and Records

Explore a slew of books, classic records, and art at The Last Bookstore, Southern California’s most iconic and largest independent bookstore.

Originally a 1914 bank building, the space houses several large vaults outfitted with shelves of used and new books. “Now we turn books into gold,” joked owner Josh Spencer, who initially launched his store in a downtown loft back in 2005.

Between now and then, the business grew and Spencer moved the store to its current location at 5th and Spring. The store was named The Last Bookstore as several booksellers were going out of business. It seemed fitting during a time of bleak economic prospects and the rise of Internet sales and e-books, noted Spencer.

Before the store, Spencer previously sold items on eBay. From there, he turned his love for books into reality by launching a creative space for people to mingle and enjoy a good read. “I lived here for several years before I opened it. I knew the neighborhood, the people down here,” he said. “There were a lot of young people looking for creative places to hang out. It didn’t seem like a huge gamble to me.”

Over the years, The Last Bookstore has partnered and shared its space with the Spring Arts Collective to bring a slice of L.A.’s art scene to the forefront.

If you’re looking for good, cheap reads, be sure to make a trip upstairs. You’ll find books — nearly 100,000 — listed at just one dollar.