Art

The 10 Best Independent and Specialty Bookstores in Los Angeles

Leave the screens behind and get lost in all the proof that L.A. is secretly a very literary city.

Photo by Joshua White/Courtesy of Arcana: Books on the Arts

One of the biggest secrets about L.A. is that it’s actually a very literary city, with a ton of writers and no shortage of inspirational bookstores to be found. We’ve rounded up the best specialty independent sellers—from traditional with a twist to superniche standouts—where you’re bound to get lost in the stacks. So leave the screens behind and go find your next beach, poolside, inspirational, coffee-table, or pleasure read.

independent bookstores los angeles
Photo by Joshua White/Courtesy of Arcana: Books on the Arts

Arcana: Books on the Arts
This chic, design-focused bibliophile dreamworld regularly makes celebrity-picks and international best-of lists of bookstores. Stocking a breathtaking, well-curated selection of new and out-of-print books on the arts, the 5,000-square-foot space is full of possibilities. You’ll shell out a pretty penny, but browsing is freeand something you’ll really want to leave time for, as there are cozy rooms made for it. 8675 Washington Boulevard, Culver City

Artbook at Hauser & Wirth
This hip and ultra-inspirational art complex at Hauser & Wirth is where to go when you want to get completely lost in visual creativity. 917 East 3rd Street

independent bookstores los angeles
Photo courtesy of Book Soup/Facebook

Book Soup
Stop in for the James Ellroy; stay for the massive collection of books signed by writers who have graced this beloved West Hollywood institution. With a rotating cast of local authors, national bestsellers, and the odd poetry and astrology reading, Book Soup has been fulfilling the Sunset Strip’s eclectic literary needs since 1975, and it knows its audience. 8818 Sunset Boulevard, West Hollywood

Star-crossed lovers, heaving bosoms, and happily-ever-after all come together at the Ripped Bodice.

Family
All things skate and sneaker culture converge on Fairfax Avenue, long considered one of the coolest streets in Los Angeles. It is fitting that it’s where Family resides. Something of a wild, even tough, youth culture–focused bookstore, you’ll find the most obscure, avant-garde, and edgy photography, comics, zines, and artist books here. 436 North Fairfax Avenue

independent bookstores los angeles
Photo courtesy of Hennessey + Ingalls

Hennessey + Ingalls
If you’re looking for the ultimate book to spruce up your coffee table, Hennessey + Ingalls has an unmatched selection of art, architecture, cooking, fashion, and limited-edition tomes perfect for any aesthetic. Since 1963, it’s been one of the largest retailers focused on arts and architecture—and a total feast for the eyes. 300 South Santa Fe Avenue

independent bookstores los angeles
Photo courtesy of Now Serving/Facebook

Now Serving
A wonderfully curated collection of cookbooks awaits you here, full of incredible dishes from around the world. Tucked into a small storefront in the Far East Plaza, everything in this shop is selected with a mind and eye for micro-regional food movements, heartfelt cooking, and specialty cuisines. 727 North Broadway #133

independent bookstores los angeles
Photo courtesy of Ooga Booga/Facebook

Oooga Booga
With zines, small-press oddities, and conceptual publications, this is where radical art theory, politics, queerness, youth, and identity exploration converge. 943 North Broadway #203

independent bookstores los angeles
Photo by Lindsay George/Courtesy of Skylight Books

Skylight Books & Arts Annex
With a staff that knows its stuff, you can’t possibly go wrong at Skylight Books, where the selection is always on point. The shop focuses on emerging authors and the most far-out of the classics, and hosts readings by up-and-coming voices and storytellers. The annex, full of photography, art, comics, and graphic novels, is a great spot for a more visual array. 1818 North Vermont Avenue

independent bookstores los angeles
Photo by James Martinez/Courtesy of the Last Bookstore

The Last Bookstore
Wander through California’s largest used-and-new bookstore and you’ll find more than just books. Explore tens of thousands of vinyl records, graphic novels, and a mezzanine labyrinth housing the Spring Art Collective gallery shops. Make sure to bring a camera—the Book Tunnel is a popular selfie backdrop. 453 South Spring Street

The Ripped Bodice
Star-crossed lovers, heaving bosoms, and happily-ever-after all come together at the Ripped Bodice, the only bookstore in the U.S. that exclusively stocks romantic fiction. However, this isn’t your trashy paperback kind of place (although there’s a place for those here, too); it’s a thoughtful, intelligent catalog of the stuff that’s spawned wars, rivalries, transformations, and stories that have lasted through the ages. The shop is owned by two sisters who are so passionate about representation of this particular genre that they release an annual report that tracks author diversity in romance. 3806 Main Street, Culver City