The independent bookstore industry in and around the Los Angeles area is a healthy, vibrant collection of shops of all types and sizes, led perhaps (at least according to some) by popular spots like The Last Bookstore in downtown Los Angeles and Book Soup in West Hollywood. But if a more intimate shopping experience is your cup of tea, seek out Dave’s Olde Book Shop in Redondo Beach, which carries an impressive collection of – as the awning of the shop states – fine used books.
“This is a wonderful shop you’ve got here,” I said to owner Dave Chinlund as I browsed his massive collection of beautiful leather-bound volumes.
“Thank you,” said the friendly bookseller seated behind his glass counter, from where he’s managed the shop for some twenty-five years. “If everyone who came in here said that, I’d be rich!”
“Well,” I said, already trying to narrow down my shopping list to a reasonable amount, “I may not make you rich, but I won’t be leaving empty-handed.”
If trying to describe Dave’s shop in a word, plenty options come to mind: charming, quaint, traditional. It has that classic used bookstore feel, with tall shelves neatly arranged with expertly curated books, and plenty of stacked piles of newly added books yet to be sorted and shelved. But, one word in particular jumped out at me as I browsed: eclectic, and I’m not just talking about the inventory.
The selections certainly cover a wide array of the expected genres, and a glass case exhibits plenty of rare, old, and first-edition classics. But even the conversation buzzing about the shop has a tendency to be a little multifarious. During my short time there, conversation topics between Dave and myself or Dave and customers veered from online family DNA tests to the benefits of interracial dating to World War II to what Gertrude Stein meant by the line, “A rose is a rose is a rose.” The gentleman in that conversation described it as, basically, “it is what it is. A rose is a rose, and you don’t need to interpret it any further than that.”
And while I wouldn’t say that a bookstore is a bookstore is a bookstore, I will say this about the timeless charm of shops (and shop owners) like what you’ll find at Dave’s Olde Book Shop: a classic is a classic is a classic.
Dave’s Olde Bookshop is located at 2123 Artesia Boulevard, Redondo Beach, California. The store is open daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.