“The Last Bookstore in LA” Expansion Marks One Year Anniversary in Downtown LA

The Last Bookstore has become increasingly popular over the last year, enough to warrant an expansion doubling its size from 10,000 to 20,000 square feet

Some may have already forgotten, but The Last Bookstore (now the definite go-to place for purchasing books downtown) started out with a very humble beginning not far from its current location at 5th and Spring in the Spring Arts Tower. Last year, the independent bookstore relocated from a mere 970 square foot space on Main Street (next to Pete’s Cafe) to their current spacious 10,000 square foot space that was once the lobby of the Citizen National Bank in 1915. Now after a year since their relocation, I am told by the store manager, Billy, that business has been picking up so much that more space was needed to stock even more books.

To meet that demand, The Last Bookstore has now annexed the second floor, adding another 10,000 square feet to the store’s existing space and bringing the total to an impressive 20,000 square feet. The new second floor expansion allows the store to carry an additional 100,000+ books. And the best part about it? They’re all priced at $1! Yes, even hardcover books.

What I really love about The Last Bookstore (besides the fact that they sell a great selection of books) is the attention to design details seen throughout the store. Not only is it wonderful for the bookstore to be in a grand historic space with the beautiful columns and ornate ceilings, but the store has also incorporated artistic pieces — usually made from either books or paper — to effectively bring to light the beauty of reading and knowledge. For example, there is a bookcase upstairs that uses books to look like “flying birds” from the shelves, and in my interpretation, represents the liberation gained from knowledge.

Tomorrow on Saturday, June 23, there will be an event at The Last Bookstore from 4 pm to 11 pm celebrating the one year anniversary with live music (Kristopher Escajeda, Jeremy Horton, Waberi Jordan, Skyline Electric) and an additional 10% off your purchase (books, records, DVDs, and CDs). Oh, and their vinyl music collection will also double in size apparently. :)

The Last Bookstore took over a cavernous space that used to be a historic bank on Spring Street

New cutouts in the walls reveal the new space upstairs

The original ornate ceilings on the second floor have been restored

Over 100,000 books have been added to the second floor, all for $1 each

I love the way the store has incorporated artistic designs from the books themselves such as this arch

I love the use of these books to represent “birds flying” away, or the liberation that comes from knowledge from my interpretation

Paper from a typewriter floats up into the ceiling represents to me the imagination of an author as he or she typed their book in progress

An original bank vault from the building’s historic past as a financial institution

Looking down from the second floor through the new cutouts in the wall

In addition to books, there is a large collection of records, DVDs, and CDs

To celebrate their one year anniversary, the vinyl collection will double in size

Live music bands also perform on certain nights in the middle of the bookstore

This cafe was added last September giving customers a beverage to sip on while they browsed for books

An artistic mannequin greets customers in the front of the store

10 Responses to “The Last Bookstore in LA” Expansion Marks One Year Anniversary in Downtown LA

  1. JUST WONDERFUL — I ENJOY READING FROM MY IPAD BUT THERE IS NOTHING LIKE HANGING OUT IN A BOOK STORE! IF ONLY THEY HAD A SECTION FOR BRANDY AND CIGARS ;:)

  2. Brigham: Great story, great photos. Your blog is a treasure for downtown LA.
    I love this story……

    Be well.

    Steve Villano

  3. What an amazing story. Good to hear not only is business thriving, but people still read physical books!

  4. The more we head into the digital age, the more people may long for “the good old days” when you could pick up a book and read it by turning an actual page. :)

  5. Thanks for the write-up, Brigham! Awesome photos…we will put it on our press page on the website. One small correction: the upstairs expansion is 6100 sq. ft, bringing us to 16,100 sq. ft. instead of 20,000. We’re not that big…yet.

    • Thanks Josh!

      I was told that there is an additional space upstairs that is being worked on (under construction) that will bring the total space upstairs to 10,000 SF? Is that true?

  6. Wow, this is proof that downtown l.a. is a thriving artistic community.

  7. Peter Woods has done a fantastic job of marketing and spreading the word about the Last Bookstore. I remember visiting during Art Walk back when they where on Main. The new space is AWESOME!!!

  8. thank you fro the insight and very splendid observations
    you shine on DTLA

Add Your Thoughts