Does the arrival of the digital age signal the beginning of the end for printed books? Josh Spencer doesn’t think so. As the founder of Los Angeles’s The Last Bookstore, he has first-hand knowledge of how precious traditional, ink-and-paper books continue to be.
After an accident left him without the use of his legs, Josh had a lot of questions about what his future held. He never expected that his hobby—buying and selling books out of his studio apartment—would turn into a full-time business. Ten years later, in addition to being a husband and father, Josh runs one of the most beloved independent bookstores in the world. “It’s a fantasy job for anybody who’s really in love with all different kinds of books,” he says.
Josh prides himself on the human quality of his shop, which shines through everything from its design and staff of committed book-lovers to the small treasures he finds tucked inside used book donations. It’s what he believes sets his business apart from the scores of corporate and independent bookstores that have shuttered in recent years.
Though running The Last Bookstore takes plenty of hard work and dedication, “It doesn’t feel like work to me,” Josh says. “That’s the best kind of job, right? When you’re just having fun, and it’s what you’d do as a hobby anyway.”
Watch this short documentary for a look behind the scenes of The Last Bookstore and an intimate glimpse into Josh’s life as a small business hero.