These days, it can be pretty difficult to find a bookstore, let alone one that is considered independent from a large chain. The best independent bookstores reflect and serve their community and provide an essential space for ideas and discovery through interesting stock, author events, and literary gatherings.
1818 North Vermont Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90027
This general bookstore, which sits in Los Feliz and opened in 1996 on the former site of the famed local bookstore Chatterton’s, boasts an eclectic clientele including many local artists, writers, scholars and musicians from around L.A. Because of their patrons, they offer some of the best titles around in literary fiction, books on music, art, film and theatre. In addition, expect to find books on Los Angeles and its history, children’s books, and much more.
3582 Main St.
Riverside, CA 92501
Tucked away off Riverside’s Main Street, this quant bookstore offers fine used books that will make you want to come back time and time again to explore their titles. With squeaky, well-worn wooden floors covered in throw rugs, original art from local artists, and occasionally bowls of fresh fruit, Downtowne Bookstore is both well-stocked and cozy. In addition to a great selection, they also offer reasonable prices.
1716 Sunset Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90026
Located in Echo Park, Stories Books doubles as a coffee shop and restaurant where you can grab a bite or get a great latte as you browse the new and used books on the shelves. With booksellers that know their stock, and a lively atmosphere, books here include rare and collectables, fiction, history, art, photography, philosophy, children’s and much more. The abundance of paperback books supply a nice selection of authors and their backlists. Committed to promoting local authors, it’s the perfect place for readings and gatherings, especially in the mural-lined back patio.
8818 Sunset Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90069
One of Los Angeles’ and Hollywood’s most storied bookstores, Book Soup offers not only a terrific selection of top notch books, but also events for authors you won’t find anywhere else in the city. Stocking an extensive selection of film books, biographies, art and photography and non-fiction works, Book Soup is the perfect stop for grown ups who love books.
Small World Books
1407 Ocean Front Walk
Venice, CA 90291
For a bookstore, you might not think of a location on the Venice Boardwalk, but Small World Books makes it work perfectly. A general bookstore carrying a wide selection of titles published by both major and small presses, the store has been the winner of the Los Angeles Times bookstore of the week in 2011 for its great selection. Moved to the Venice Boardwalk in 1976 after years in Marina del Rey, the bookstore is about 2,000 square feet and offers contemporary fiction and nonfiction as well as anything from mysteries, science fiction, young adult, and art books to travel books and more.
695 E Colorado Blvd
Pasadena, CA 91101
Boasting itself as Southern California’s oldest and largest independent bookstore, Vroman’s is a reader’s haven. In fact, it’s commonplace to find customers talking about books or crowding the wall of employee recommendations. And, with events almost daily, it’s no wonder why readers and book lovers adore this place. Also known for its sideline products, this is the perfect stop to find the special gift for a booklover.