The last bookstore was established in 2005 in the downtown loft apartment of Josh Spencer and since then has moved 3 times and has grown from Ebay to a 22,000 sq. ft. space in the spring art tower. The shop was born out of a need for Spencer to support himself while working with something he’s passionate about. Books. It’s most definitely a must see for any book lover in LA, with ‘book valts’ that show off the buildings banking history and amazing photo opportunities such as the book tunnel.
I got the opportunity to visit the bookstore in November 2018 while visiting my brother and sister in law who live in LA. I’ve never been to America before, never even been out of Europe, so it was one big adventure. My sister in law did an amazing job of planning the week and the days were spent at the beach and eating very American fast food but the highlight by far was a trip to The Last Bookstore. Knowing my love for all things books, she made sure we had half a day to spend there. Honestly I would have happily spent longer just getting lost in the book playground but my mam was getting sick of following me around with my quickly growing pile of books and everyone was hungry.
But if like my family you’re being dragged along by a book lover there’s still plenty to do and see, don’t worry! They have sections dedicated to records and comics as well as Spring Arts Collective gallery shops, a collection of artists based in the huge mezzanine.
Spencer had a moped accident when he was younger that resulted in him being unable to work and now relies on a wheelchair, in 2002 he moved to LA. Unable to find a job he was stuck living off food stamps. After an early midlife crisis he finally decided he needed to do something and started buying and selling books through Ebay. Finally after a friend pushed him to open a shop he finally agreed… and he’s been busy since day one.
Josh wanted the shop to be somewhere he would want to live and a refuge for the people of LA.
“People come here every single day…” Josh explained in a short film created by director Chad Howitt. “… so whatever they were doing every day before they’re not doing that anymore.”
There’s a romantic irony about the shop itself and you get that feeling from inside. Josh knew there was a large chance this shop wouldn’t last longer than a year after seeing so many second hand bookshops get chased off the high street by the larger chains. This is why he decided on the name the last bookstore and just threw everything he had at it. A “bookstore art project” as he called it. It’s so important we support shops like this.
There’s honestly something magical about this shop. As soon as you step inside you feel like you’re stepping into something special, something that has a meaning, and that’s not a feeling you get when you step into Waterstones or log onto Amazon. The shop was created by a booklover for booklovers but still offering a safe place for people who love art or music.
I can highly recommend paying this shop a visit if you’re in the area. I managed to pick up a couple of new and used book, all in really good quality with good prices. They have books about loads of different things, I got books about politics and being a fangirl and everything in between. I also recommend you have your camera at the ready, there’s so much art and opportunities to take beautiful photos.
The Last Bookstore can be found at 453 S Spring St – Ground Floor
Los Angeles, CA 90013 and contacted by phone on 213-488-0599.