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Best of LA: Local Bookstores

We all know how easy it is to shop on Amazon and get books delivered right to our door. But do you know what we are missing in that process? Advice from an expert. People who own or work in local bookstores do it because they love books. And much like your favorite librarian, those book store folks, are tapped-in to the special books that the search engine on Amazon is not likely to find. They also know their inventory. They do special orders. And more often than not, they invite authors to their stores to read from their books and sign them for you and your kids. Taking your kids to a local bookstore is a magical experience that helps them develop a passion for reading. Meeting those amazing people who work in the stores is often part of that experience. I always think about the little store that Meg Ryan’s character inherited from her mom in the movie You’ve Got Mail. That was a special store, where people loved books and loved to share the stories within their pages with each other. Those book stores do still exist and you can find them sprinkled throughout the canvas of this city. You just have to know where to look.

books and cookies bookshelvesBooks and Cookies is located on Main Street in Santa Monica (in case you don’t know they moved- right across the street). A children’s bookstore and enrichment center they offer an enchanting blend of literature, classes and yes – cookies – with the goal of bringing the wonder and excitement back to reading and learning.  Books and Cookies is the brainchild of the lovely Chudney Ross (youngest daughter of Diana Ross), actor, tv host, former public school teacher, now entrepreneur and author – her Bean’s Books series are published by Harper Collins. Get on their email list or call to find our about weekly classes and events. You can also host birthday parties here! Books and Cookies is part of our Perks Program. #GetPerks at their location. Click here for details.

band at childrens book worldChildren’s Book World located on Pico in West Los Angeles, has been open since 1986. This full-service children’s bookshop stocks over 80,000 titles for children, parents, teachers and collectors. They also carry a large selection of music, audio books, DVDs, craft and science kits, and educational aids. They host lots of author readings and Saturday morning events for kids. SEE SCHEDULE for details. If you’re looking for  an extensive selection of children’s book – Children’s Book World is the place!

diesel bookstore 2Diesel Bookstore has been in business as an independent bookseller since 1989. With (3) California locations including the Brentwood Country Mart Diesel is known for their fascinating selection of new and used titles, author events, enthusiastically diverse staff, and urban California aesthetic, DIESEL is the cutting-edge, high octane, community-radiating, independent neighborhood bookstore we all dream of hanging out in, getting imaginally turned on in, and literarily inspired by. This bookstore is great for adults and kids! Check their schedule for events as well.


hammer bookstoreHammer Museum located in the Wilshire Corridor the bookstore at the Hammer Museum is a great find!  The kids book section is terrific and includes a lot of titles you won’t find anywhere else. Named one of the best museum shops in 2006 by Los Angeles Magazine, the Hammer store is renowned for its extraordinary range of books (including hard-to-find titles) on art, architecture and design. The bookstore offers around ten thousand titles, ranging from ancient art to cutting-edge contemporary art. The store also offers a unique selection of jewelry and gifts, and includes items handmade by local artists. Visit their listing on our site for more information about their store.

vromans-front-newsstandVroman’s Bookstore was founded in 1894 by Adam Clark Vroman.Vroman’s is also famous for its world class author signings and events. The store hosts over 400 free community events a year including children’s storytimes, trivia nights, craft classes, bake-offs, and special launch parties, and has hosted such authors as President Bill Clinton, President Jimmy Carter, Irving Stone, Upton Sinclair, Ray Bradbury, David Sedaris, Salman Rushdie, Walter Mosely, Joan Didion, Barbara Walters, Anne Rice, Neil Gaiman, and Justice Sonia Sotomayor.


Book Soup– Located on the infamous Sunset Strip in West Hollywood, California, Book Soup has been serving the Los Angeles community – and beyond – since 1975! As one of the last surviving and leading independent bookstores, Book Soup packs over 60,000 titles in-stock, specializing in art, film, photography, music, controversial non-fiction, and literary fiction. With a deep commitment to university, International, and small presses, customers will continue to be surprised by the rare gems found on their shelves. You might also see some celebrities shopping in there! Also CHECK THEIR SCHEDULE for author signings and other events.

Jenny Bec’s – Located in Brentwood this children’s toy store known for great gifts and gift wrapping features an extensive selection of children’s books. Jenny keeps up on the latest titles and actually reads all of the books. So ask her for a recommendation.

JES Toy & Book Shoppe is a place filled with learning, creativity, and fun! We have toys, puzzles, books and more for children of all ages. We are an L.A. based family run business that has been a part of Los Angeles history as a staple in Koreatown.

Skylight Books – located in the shadow of Griffith Park and its iconic Observatory, and surrounded by the architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright, R.M. Schindler, and Richard Neutra. Skylight Books is a general bookstore serving such historic Los Angeles neighborhoods as Hollywood, Los Feliz, Silver Lake, and Echo Park. Their eclectic clientele, including many local artists, musicians, writers, and scholars, challenges them to provide the cutting edge of culture including the best in literary fiction, books on music, art, film and theatre, Los Angeles regional culture and history, graphic literature, children’s books, political theory and more.

Storyopolis in Encino is a terrific place to browse for books and gifts for kids. The walls of this cozy shop are lined with an abundant selection of books, gifts and toys. They make these incredible book baskets that are so much fun for any child to receive! Really creative!

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