L.A.’s Best Used Bookstores Are a Bibliophile’s Dream

Looking for shops where John Steinbeck is still a best-seller and you might rub elbows with James Ellroy? Read on

On a recent Saturday morning, Harvey Jason was surprised to see a line waiting for him when he arrived to open his used bookstore, Mystery Pier (8826 Sunset Blvd.), which specializes in first editions and rare printings. Seems a TikTok video trumpeting the charms of his little shop, tucked between a hookah bar and Book Soup, had gone viral, attracting a swarm of eager young book buyers. “I’ve never even been on TikTok before,” says Jason, 81, a former actor-turned-bibliophile. Normally, his clientele skews a bit older and more famous—James Ellroy, Natalie Portman, Colin Farrell, Flea, and U2’s Adam Clayton have been known to browse his vast collection.

But Mystery Pier isn’t the only used bookshop with social media chops: downtown’s The Last Bookstore (453 Spring St.) may be the world’s most Instagrammed used book shop, thanks to its labyrinthine shelves and bank-vault-turned-display-space, while equally picturesque Counterpoint (5911 Franklin Ave.) in Hollywood Dell has appeared in music videos. Other gems scattered around the city include Pico-Robertson’s SideShow (which provided hundreds of vintage paperbacks to decorate the sets of HBO’s ’70s-era The Deuce), Venice’s Angel City Books (where owner Rocco Ingala says John Steinbeck is the No. 1 selling author), and Santa Monica’s BookMonster (piled high with more than 200,000 books).

Love thrifting and buying used? Check out our full Secondhand L.A. guide here.

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