LA Fridays with Bob and Tom: The Last Bookstore

LA Fridays with Bob and Tom

Week 9: The Last Bookstore


The Last Book Store located at 453 S. Spring Street, downtown LA is the largest independent bookstore still standing.  The store claims to have 250,000 new and used books covering two floors.  As vast as it may be we found it very well organized.  There were display shelves for the usual “staff picks” and a large number of book categories.  There are rare books, a display of art work, vinyl records, and on the second floor small shops, artist galleries, and working artist studios.  


The second floor is basically a labyrinth.  There is a very cool walk-in safe which is known as the “horror vault.”  There is a spot for “photo taking lovers”.  A number of books are organized to form a hole where one can place one’s face for a photo.  A bit old fashioned but it does make you smile.  A little farther along is a tunnel made of books allowing for another photo op (see photo above). There is a bookshelf that just looks chaotic with pages hanging from the ceiling.  There are secret passage ways leading to hidden rooms.  The vastness of the layout beckons well more than an hour of browsing.  In spite of its size the atmosphere is very cozy, trippy, and friendly.


The store has a great mission, “keep the paper and ink book business alive in an era of e-readers and digital downloads”.  So what do you think, Amazon?

The hours are 10-5 seven days a week, but parking can be dicey.  If you are lucky you might find a meter otherwise a nearby parking lot.




Robert (Bob) is a PhD physicist whose career has spanned academia, government and private industry. As a faculty member of the Department of Physics at the University of Tennessee, a Branch Chief at the United States Department of Energy and Vice President of an American International Group Company, his scientific endeavors include radiation physics, environmental research, environmental insurance and nanotechnology.

Originally from the East Coast, Bob was seduced by his sons and their families (and the California weather) to leave Washington, DC after retiring in 2010. While recovering from culture shock, Bob found many outlets to reconcile his eclectic interests. As a member of Senior Scholars for over six years he continues to take courses in a myriad of subjects ranging from film to art history to brain science and finds great intellectual and social rewards in Senior Scholars and the Plato Society.

As a latent artist, he sketches scenes about town once a week with an artist friend from his college days and is attempting to learn to play the electric guitar.

On moving to Los Angeles, he found Tom Jacobson, another recent transplant. They became great friends and decided to explore their new town together leading to over 113 sites in our city. Dubbed “LA Fridays with Bob and Tom” they are happy to share their experiences with others.

Bob lives in Brentwood with Phyllis, his wife of 56 years, an education policy executive. They have two sons and four grandchildren, one of whom plays a guitar a lot better than Bob.




Thomas (Tom) is an attorney who practiced trial and constitutional law in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Born in 1938 in Bamberg Germany, he was one of the youngest passengers on the ill-fated voyage of the Damned, the SS St. Louis, turned away from Cuba in 1939.

Tom represented local civil rights activists and Dick Gregory and twice argued cases successfully in the United States Supreme Court. In 1970 he was the Democratic candidate for Wisconsin Attorney General.

Retiring in 2008, he and wife, Peggy, moved to California to join their two sons and four grandchildren, and enjoy the warm weather.

Tom has kept busy as a member of Senior Scholars and Plato for the last six years keeping his brain stimulated and active. Yoga and swimming have kept his body in shape.