The Last Bookstore is located in an old bank building on the corner of 5th and Spring in DTLA. The massive floor space, tall columns and arched cieling give it a cathedral-like feel. Along with selling books, the store’s also turned into a kind of community center for the growing downtown community, hosting musical performances, book and poetry readings, and neighborhood meetings.
I have spent thousands of hours of my life in book stores, from quaint mom and pop independents to giant chain stores. My heart aches a bit whenever I hear about a bookstore closing its doors for good, or see someone reading from an e-reader or tablet instead of a proper paper and ink bound book. With every novel that’s downloaded on a Kindle or Nook, I feel like we’ve taken another small step toward the grave for the bookstores business
That’s why I was so delighted when I walked through the doors of downtown Los Angeles’ The Last Bookstore for the first time. In an era when so many bookstores are going the way of the Dodo bird (and record shops!), this store, which opened in 2011, is trying to keep the book selling trade alive. And it’s doing it with style. The Last Bookstore is an amazing space. First, it’s enormous, think cathedral instead of retail space. Second, its owner, Josh Spencer, has designed the store so you feel like you’re stepping into a different world when you walk in off of busy 5th Street.
He’s also trying to show how bookstores can survive and prosper in the digital age by becoming a community crossroads for their neighborhoods. The Last Bookstore does that by hosting musical performances, parties, community meetings, and, of course, poetry and book readings.