A few of my personal favorites:
~ Los Angeles ~
Once Upon a Time Bookstore (Glendale). Primarily a children’s bookstore, they still have good recommendations and nice, up-to-date, non-kid sections. Plus they sometimes have donut-based events.
Lost Books and The Last Bookstore (Glendale and LA, respectively). Owned by the same people, these offer a mix of new and used books., They’re also sights to behold, with lots of interesting use of space, with plants, trees, curvy shelves, tunnels… and, yes, books!
Eso Won Books (Los Angeles). A fantastic store with a quick-working staff, they’re capable of very fast turn-around times on orders. They host many exciting authors, too. Eso Won may be going to online only in the future, but that will not slow them down.
The Ripped Bodice (Culver City). A store dedicated to romance novels. They have a large, diverse selection with tons of buttons and other ephemera all related to their theme. They’re also constantly hosting author events with some of the genre’s top names. Special points for their LEGO model of their neighborhood.
~ Not Los Angeles ~
Boswell Books (Milwaukee, WI). A beautiful, large store in a great part of town. A gargantuan kid’s section dwarfed only by their gargantuan non-kid’s sections.
Wordsmith Bookshoppe (Galesburg, IL). Hey — I’m from there! Kinda. Nearby anyway. A nice place with a great staff, they rack up the books.