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The Last Bookstore makes a big move

June 3, 2011 |  3:57 pm

Thelastbookstore

Don't let the scrappy sign fool you -- the Last Bookstore's move from its old location on Main Street to its new place at Spring and 5th is going to be spectacular.

The used bookstore spent 18 months in its prior 1,000-square-foot location in downtown Los Angeles. Now The Last Bookstore is expanding to 10,000 square feet, where it will have live events and an Internet cafe and used record store. The doors opened for business Friday in what its owners are calling a soft launch. And although there's still some painting to be done, a few details on the checkout counter to finish and some more bookshelves to be rolled out, books are now for sale.

And the space, in the Spring Arts Tower, is going to be tremendous when all the pieces are in place. The building was completed in 1914 for Citizens Bank; the original pillars, which can be seen in this photograph, remain part of the bookstore space. So does the original painted ceiling.

Owner Josh Spencer has added many modern touches, including new lighting and a grand, enormous wall-mounted sculpture made of wire and old paperbacks that both looks fabulous and provides sound baffling. When I visited around lunchtime Friday, Spencer, who had been working at the store all night, had gone home for a quick break before the evening's festivities began.

To celebrate its quiet launch, The Last Bookstore will have its first live event Friday night with three acoustic bands and a fourth playing a fully plugged-in set. No one I talked to in the store knew which bands were on the bill -- it's a soft launch, after all. Friends will come by, or maybe they'll come next time. 

Under several bookshelves that are easy to wheel aside, there is a new performance stage that the Last Bookstore plans to put to good use with music, readings and theatrical performances. A blank wall may be used for showing films. The address is 453 S. Spring Street -- but walk around the corner to enter on 5th, where there are shelves of books for just $1.

"It's always been a dream of mine to have a multipurpose space where the community could interact," Spencer told NBC-4's The Local in February. Now he's got it -- 10 times as big as before.

-- Carolyn Kellogg

Photo: The Last Bookstore's new location. Credit: Carolyn Kellogg

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