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The Last BookStore

April 10, 2012
Famed as one of the 20 most beautiful bookstores in the world, The Last BookStore is situated in downtown LA. Unless you checkout the exact same address in the map, it is easy to miss this gem of a place. It doesn’t have huge billboards directing it to the inside of the bookstore nor does it have flashy exteriors. Only thing that distinguishes the bookstore is a writing on its huge glass windows.

I came across the list of 20 most beautiful bookstore in the world two months back and it instantly struck me that I haven’t even been to a single one of them. Since the list spanned across various cities across the globe, I decided to first visit the one that is closest to home. The Last BookStore in LA began in 2005 in a downtown Los Angeles loft and is currently in its third location. They are one of the last bookstores in LA which still buys the used books.

The books are arranged in various shelfs by genre and author. All the books in the front room of the bookstore are priced at $1 and if you search hard enough, you are bound to find some rare gems. Though most of the books are used books which are prices reasonably, the bookstore house new books too; but those are priced at the stored prices.The bookstore also house music records, some rare ones at that too. There is an in-house coffee house which serves up a cup or two of coffee if you are tired from looking at the books.

According to the owner Josh Spencer

the coolest book to ever be placed on the shelves is a giant-sized sample of Taschen’s “Dennis Hopper: Photographs 1961-1967.” Only 1,500 copies were printed and signed at $2,000 a pop. The Last Bookstore’s was the rarest because it was never for sale. Another gem is a vintage paperback of Philip K. Dick’s “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?,” inspiration for the film “Blade Runner.”

There is a story behind its name too

The name was chosen with irony, but it has become a self-fulfilling prophecy as physical bookstores are dying out like dinosaurs from the meteoric impact of Amazon and e-books. With our constant turnover of stock, regular musical and literary events, and the addition of coffee and a vinyl LP shop, we book-lovers at the Last Bookstore hope to last as long as we can in downtown LA’s vibrant new community. Join the cause! Buy, sell, trade, and above all read real books…before they’re gone.

I love the last line “Buy, sell, trade, and above all read real books…before they’re gone”. I hope they are never gone. I hope that even in the time of Amazon, Flipkart and e-books, the real books survive forever. To help the cause, I bought a second hand copy of the book “Grapes of Wrath” by John Steinbeck, something I wanted to read for a long time now.

Which is the most beautiful bookstore you ever visited? Do you think real books are becoming extinct?

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