I am old school. I like my newspaper in newsprint, delivered to my doorstep early in the morning so I can read it while sipping my coffee that I make by grinding my own beans. I like my books to have covers (hard or soft) and pages made of real paper. I prefer calling over texting. I use Mapquest instead of a GPS (I know, this doesn't really qualify as "old school"). I like to browse for new releases in bookstores.
We need to support the remaining local bookstores. You're probably thinking I'm Rip Van Winkle and don't know there are no bookstores in Palos Verdes selling new books. But just a few miles off the hill in San Pedro, the town the U.S. Navy was afraid of, you'll find a delightful little shop called Williams' Book Store.
Williams' Book Store is on 6th Street, across from the Warner Grand. Their website boasts that they are the "oldest, continuously operating bookstore in Los Angeles." It is a small shop with hardly the number of titles at, say, Barnes and Noble, but there is a section devoted to local authors and cozy spot in the back for young readers. The proprietors have a display of books from the recommended reading list of the local schools. Among the magazines, I noticed some literary journals I hadn't seen at some of the big box stores. When I'm there, I buy something, anything, to support their business.
In my junior year in high school, I took an aptitude test and one of the careers suggested to me was bookstore manager. I never followed this advice, but I still think it could be a fun and fulfilling job, maybe in retirement. However, bookstores are becoming a thing of the past, so chances are slim I could land such a position or have success in running a bookselling establishment of my own. I am frequenting stumbling across stories of bookstores closing, most recently Metropolis Books in downtown L.A. And don't get me started on Borders.
There was a lovely little store in Hermosa Beach not too long ago, called the Either/Or Bookstore. All of us who went there at any time still are nostalgic about it. There is even a Facebook group devoted to its memory and the stories people have shared are priceless.
I think the truth is that we love bookstores, but love a bargain more, so as long as online sellers can give us a better price, they're getting the majority of the business.
Lest you think I am expecting a financial gain, let me state that I am not related to nor know the personnel at Williams' Book Store. I just want to see them exist. I never forget to buy something, anything, when I am in the area.
But a bright spot looms. I read some encouraging news the other day. An independent bookstore is opening in Redondo Beach this month, specializing in mysteries and science fiction. I will be one of their patron for sure. See you there!