August 2018
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5 Best Bookstores in Southern California
Soak up the sun in Southern California with a new book

No matter your taste in literature and books, a new book you haven’t read before always awaits. Consider taking a look at these five bookstores in Southern California the next time you’re searching for a title to while away the hours.

The Last Bookstore

California’s largest used and new book and record store stands in downtown Los Angeles and it remains one of the largest independent bookstores in the world. The Last Bookstore was established in 2005 by Josh Spencer, who is committed to providing print books; his store has a labyrinth of treasures and is a refuge for many book lovers. Its name, originally chosen with irony, aptly describes the decline of physical bookstores as technology, such as Amazon and e-books, expands. The Last Bookstore is dedicated to keeping the paper and ink book business alive by buying, selling and trading books like every day is its last. As you peruse these two floors filled with new and used books, vinyl records and graphic novels, you will see there is truly something for everyone.

Book Soup

As you make your way down Sunset Strip in West Hollywood, be sure to stop by Book Soup, the bookstore that has been serving readers, writers, artists and celebrities for more than 40 years. With over 60,000 titles in the store specializing in art, film, photography, music and literary fiction, Book Soup booksellers love to help customers find hidden autographed gems, limited edition books or vinyl record reissues. 

Vroman’s Bookstore

Adam Clark Vroman, a man passionate about books and photography, founded Vroman’s Bookstore in the heart of Pasadena in 1894. As the oldest independent bookstore in Southern California, Vroman’s left its mark on California history by donating and delivering books to Japanese Americans held at nearby internment camps. Today, the store continues to support a variety of causes and institutions with its charitable program, Vroman’s Gives Back, which donates to local nonprofits. It hosts over 400 free community events each year, welcoming a number of high-profile authors including former presidents Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter. In addition to its extensive inventory, you can also find a wide range of gifts such as stationery, candles, purses, scarves and more.

DIESEL, A Bookstore

For a neighborhood, independent bookstore that has an urban California aesthetic, DIESEL, A Bookstore is the place for you. With two locations in Brentwood and Larkspur, this community-centric shop is set to inspire readers with its alluring selection of works and fascinating author events. Opened in 1989, the dieselbooks imprint has published “Read ‘Em and Weep: My Favorite Novels” by Barry Gifford, which contains a collection of his anecdotes, reviews and responses to his favorite novels. It is available for purchase in DIESEL alongside an entire catalog of fiction, nonfiction and more, making this bookstore a shop readers dream of.

Hennessey + Ingalls

If you’re a visual arts lover, don’t miss out on Hennessey + Ingalls. Reginald Hennessey founded the store in 1963 to house rare and out-of-print architecture books, and it has since grown to become the largest art, architecture and design bookstore in the western United States. Starting out in Santa Monica and just recently relocating to the Arts District of Downtown Los Angeles, the family-owned store has become a landmark for the visual arts community by providing a thorough selection for every type of art, from interior design to landscaping. Hennessey + Ingalls continues to serve the Southern California community with the ultimate stock of vibrant art knowledge.

From poetry to fiction, art to fantasy, photography to audio books, these Southern Californian bookstores have an expansive selection of reading material suited for your summer needs.

This article is presented by Glenn E. Thomas Dodge Chrysler Jeep in Signal Hill, California.


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