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Updated by Veronika Bondarenko on Jul 10, 2015
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5 Independent Bookstores on the West Coast

Despite the rising popularity and convenience of online reading and Kindles, there is still something magical about wandering through rows and rows of old books and breathing in that musty smell. Ah, the independent bookstore. Here are some of the coolest ones you’ll find on the West Coast.

Vancouver: Macleod's Books

You’ll feel a bit overwhelmed when you walk into Macleod’s Books, where the books line the shelves, the tables, and even the floors. But despite the appearance of bibliophile chaos, the owners know exactly what goes where and will find you the book that you need in a flash. Stick around for longer, though, and you may just find a gem or two in the piles.

Seattle: The Elliott Bay Book Company

The Elliott Bay Book Company has been nestled in the heart of Seattle’s Pioneer Square since 1973. With its huge book selection, numerous author readings and abundant selection of pastries, this has long been a perfect place to spend a rainy afternoon.

Portland: Powell's Books

Portland is known for its wide array of independent book chains, but this is one legendary bookshop that earned quite a reputation among locals and tourists alike. And for good reason, because with the sheer number and variety of books available at the flagship Powell’s City of Books, you’ll need one of their store maps just to get around the shop

San Francisco: City Lights Books

With a history that is almost as rich as its book collection (this is the place that published Allen Ginsberg’s Howl in 1955 and housed many Beat Poets such as Jack Kerouac and William S. Burroughs), City Lights Books is an absolute must-see on any visit to San Francisco. With three floors full of books, a poetry room and late closing hours (you can get lost in the stacks until midnight), this place is just so much more than your average bookshop.

Los Angeles: The Last Bookstore

This isn’t really the last bookstore in L.A., but it’s definitely one of the nicest ones. Locals from all over the city come here to sell or trade some of their old books, listen to author readings and poetry slams, pick up some records or peruse a whole floor dedicated to books that cost only $1. If that last one isn’t reason enough to stop by, I don’t know what is.