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Would I actually be an author if I didn’t pay a visit to local bookstores while on a trip? On my weekend adventure to L.A. last summer, I made it out to two bookstores (three if you count the UCLA bookstore, which is basically just like any other college store with a limited book selection) that are worth raving about: Book Monster & Book Soup.
First off, in case you find it weird to associate L.A. with books, just know that reading and bookstores are very happening. Even in a place known for celebrity parties, Hollywood, and filmmaking. Maybe not as “happening” as Carrie’s NYC book party from Season 5 of Sex and The City that was so fabulous and put on by ruthless PR titan Samantha Jones (my all-time favorite character), but definitely quite up there. After all, I did make the trip to attend a Hollywood book launch party hosted by my author mentor, bestselling author & TV speaker Anna David (pictured)! (Also, where do you think they get most of those Netflix movie ideas anyway? Book adaptations, of course!)
But anyway, here’s the scoop on these two Los Angeles bookstores, one of which you can still visit and the other to reminisce on unfortunately since it closed just last week.
The Bookstore By The Beach
Book Monster is a lesser-known bookstore right off the beach in Santa Monica. Location is definitely one of the best factors about this book haven. It’s just a short 15-minute walk if you’re coming from the Santa Monica Pier, which is the route I took.
PICTURE THIS: You’re lying in the warm sunny sun for a few hours, your toes dug into the sand. Then you dust yourself off and take a short stroll down the beach with not a care in the world. You stop by the pier and treat yourself to an ice-cold margarita. Walking further down the boardwalk and past all the shops on the side of the road, you saunter into a quiet bookstore with friendly, knowledgable employees standing by as you peruse the aisles. Ahhh — what a Sunday.
Sadly, while this perfect beach & book outing described above sounds like an absolute dream — and one I was able to actually enjoy — Book Monster permanently closed on April 3, 2022. Outside of bookstores that specialize in a single genre, there aren’t many other options to choose from in Santa Monica. Even their neighborhood Barnes & Noble closed down five years ago, which I guess goes to show you that beach goers in Santa Monica aren’t doing too much reading, despite my above point…LOL. This just serves as another reminder to support your local bookstore whenever possible before online shopping shuts down all the good ones!!!
The Celebrity Bookstore
Book Soup is probably one of the most well-known Los Angeles bookstores on the world-famous Sunset Strip in West Hollywood. For location reference, it’s just down the street from The Oppenheim Group. (And for those of you who live under a rock, that’s the L.A. real estate agency made uber-famous from the Netflix show Selling Sunset! And disappointedly enough, I only discovered this fact after leaving and I could literally kick myself for not knowing in time to stop by.) But back to books…
Bookseller to the Great & Infamous
This historic Los Angeles landmark embodies every bit of its slogan: “Bookseller to the great & infamous.” That’s because it offers signed and autographed collections, and also carries vinyl records. They also host 300 author events and book signings each year. Some notable names they’ve hosted or carried signed copies for include actress and comedian Molly Shannon (upcoming event), actress Tia Mowry, writer Cazzie David with actress Chrissy Teigen, and my biased favorite…actor and comedian Jeff Garlin, who interviewed my author mentor Anna David about her book Party Girl!
My Mini Celebrity Moment
Anna is actually the reason I know of this store. She’s been hosted multiple times for author events and raves about them. This made it an obvious choice as her self-proclaimed student to follow in her footsteps and get my own book in this store…which I did! I may not have been hosted for an event at this infamous Los Angeles bookstore, but they did buy copies after I stopped by. As someone who is celebrity and Hollywood obsessed, it’s pretty damn cool that Elton John could quite possibly buy and read my book.
The great thing about this bookstore? With how much celebrity power it has in its fanbase, I don’t think this local treasure is going anywhere anytime soon. Next time you’re in L.A., swing by and see what all the rave is about!
There are so many other fabulous Los Angeles bookstores to discover if you have the time! Go check them out on your next visit to keep local booksellers in business.
Need a place to stay in L.A.? Head over to my blog “Tips for Finding the Perfect Place to Stay In Hollywood (And Avoid the Worst)” for both a hilarious story of where I stayed and how you can find someplace better…much better.