Is there anything better than spending your vacation reading on the beach? Is there anything worse than forgetting to pack your newest read and resorting to SkyMall magazine on the plane? Avoid spending an arm and a leg at LAX bookstores and make a beeline for one of these small, independent shops when you land.

Diesel, a Bookstore

This independent, neighborhood bookstore boasts an eclectic collection, diverse staff, children’s reading hour, and exciting author events. With friendly, helpful customer service and a laid-back vibe, it’s the perfect spot to pick up your next beach read. Diesel, a Bookstore: 225 26th St; 310-576-9960


Organized like a library and equipped with computers for easy searchability, BookMonster is your new favorite used book store. Buy, sell, or simply browse their collection of books, DVDs and CDs. It’s conveniently located on the Third Street Promenade, so you can scoop up a book, then meander over to Espresso Cielo for some light afternoon reading. BookMonster: 212 Santa Monica Blvd; 424-238-8576

Angel City Bookstore & Gallery

Located just off of Main Street, Angel City Bookstore & Gallery buys, sells and trades a wide variety of books—with unique collections like dada and surrealism, alternative health, and cinema technique. As its name suggests, it also boasts contemporary fine art from local Venice and Santa Monica artists. Angel City Bookstore & Gallery: 218 Pier Ave; 310-399-8767

Small World Books

With a friendly, well-read staff and a wide selection of titles, Small Word Books is a great spot to check out if you’re looking for spot-on recommendations. Fans like it for its well-curated selection of mysteries, books on science and the natural world, and children’s literature. Small World Books: 1407 Ocean Front Walk; 310-399-2360

Discover more of Santa Monica

Looking for a cultural getaway in Los Angeles? Check out The Ambrose’s blog for more arts and culture related recommendations in the City of Angels.