8 Best Bookshops in London & LA

From impressive Edwardian beauties in Marylebone to labyrinthine gems on the Sunset Strip, we’ve rounded up some of the best indy bookshops in London and LA


London’s Best Bookshops

Daunt Books, Marylebone

One of the most beautiful bookshops in London, Daunt’s Marylebone store is an Edwardian marvel with long oak galleries, skylights and an enormous arched stained glass window. They stock a wide range of titles and the knowledgeable staff will help you pick out the perfect purchase – or just settle in for a chat. Keep an eye out for their insanely popular tote bags, with are carried on the arms of book lovers across London and beyond.

84 Marylebone High Street, London, W1U 4QW; dauntbooks.co.uk

John Sandoe, Chelsea

This charming shop tucked away off the King’s Road is a real treasure trove for books, with tomes piled high and shelves filled to bursting. Stocking a range of new and second-hand titles, they also publish brilliant quarterly catalogues featuring carefully selected new releases, which means you’ll be ordering stacks of their stock before it even hits the shelves.

10-12 Blacklands Terrace, London, SW3 2SR; johnsandoe.com

The Second Shelf, Soho

A new addition to the London scene, the Second Shelf opened in November 2018 as a place to house rare and antiquarian books, modern first editions, manuscripts and rediscovered works by women. Carrying over 3,000 titles, there are works on suffrage, feminism, history, science, philosophy, cookery and children’s books, as well as some incredible collectibles, including Jane Austen’s best friend’s personal copy of Sense & Sensibility.

14 Smiths Court, London, W1D 7DW; thesecondshelf.com https://thesecondshelf.com/

Libreria, Shoreditch

This bookshop operates a strict no-tech policy, with phones and kindles banned – which is interesting, seeing as it was founded by tech entrepreneur Rohan Silva. Instead this labyrinthine store is all about the books, with bright yellow shelves crammed with titles stretching as far as the eye can see and cute reading nooks to settle into for the afternoon.

65 Hanbury Street, London, E1 5JP; libreria.io https://libreria.io/

LA’s Best Bookshops

Book Soup, West Hollywood

This store on bustling Sunset Boulevard, the largest general interest independent bookstore in Hollywood, has garnered cult status since opening in 1975, having hosted literary events for the likes of Muhammad Ali, Annie Liebovitz and Hunter S. Thompson. With teetering stacks and mazes of shelves crammed with books (over 60,000, to be exact), it’s easy to get lost in here – start with their impressive section on LA history and work your way from there.

8818 Sunset Boulevard, Los Angeles, 90069; booksoup.com https://www.booksoup.com/

The Last Bookstore, Downtown

California’s largest used and new book and record store has amassed a devoted following since opening in 2005 for its imaginative art installations, featuring books suspended in flight as they burst from bookshelves and a tunnel made entirely out of hardbacks. A celebration of all things print (its name is a thinly-veiled jibe at the e-reader industry), the store boasts over 250,000 books spread across two floors.

453 South Spring Street, Los Angeles, 90013; lastbookstorela.com https://lastbookstorela.com/

Skylight Books, Los Feliz

This cherished neighbourhood bookstore is one of the loveliest in LA, with exposed brick walls, a curved wooden ceiling and a tree growing through the middle of it. It’s as famous for its events as its excellent selection of books, hosting live readings, signings and some of LA’s best book clubs.

1814 North Vermont Avenue, Los Angeles, 90027; skylightbooks.com https://www.skylightbooks.com

Vroman’s, Pasadena

This is Southern California’s oldest and largest bookstore, having been founded over a century ago. Alongside selling books, this literary landmark also hosts regular readings and signings and is the perfect place to pick up a last-minute present, stocking a wide range of gifts and beautiful stationery.

695 East Colorado Boulevard, Los Angeles, 91101; vromansbookstore.com https://www.vromansbookstore.com/