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You could get lost in this alternate universe of used and rare books in downtown LA

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You could get lost in this alternate universe of used and rare books in downtown LA

WATCH  | The owner of The Last Bookstore, Josh Spencer, explains why he opened a bookstore when so many others were closing.  He covered the historic space in downtown Los Angeles with artistic book displays to create a feeling of enchantment that would encourage reading -- and buying books.

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The 22,000-square-foot space in the former Crocker National Bank is now filled with more than 250,000 books of all genres, presented on shelves built into the curves of the walls. It's also a space for artists to exhibit their work.

We opened at the time Borders was going out of business, so everyone seemed to think that was the end of bookstores.
Josh Spencer

 "The style that I went for with the store was Neo-Victorian, steam-punk-meets-Harry Potter, Alice in Wonderland kind of thing," explained Spencer. 

His goal was to create an environment of wonder that brought excitement back to the idea of reading.

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An accident paralyzed Josh from the waist down when he was 21.  He had trouble finding work, so he started selling books online, "I didn't necessarily think it was a good idea to open a bookstore, but it was a worthwhile idea," said Spencer. 

Somehow we became one of the largest independent bookstores in the world still standing.
Josh Spencer

In addition to books, there's also tens of thousands of vinyl records and graphic novels. The store at 453 South Spring Street is open seven days a week. 

And yes, they will buy your used books if in good condition -- but you can also donate them.

Visitors to The Last Bookstore often post pictures from the book sculptures on Instagram.

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