A transcript of the podcast is available here.
If literature is an ecosystem, then bookstores are its foundation. They’re where literature intersects with community. They introduce people to new and idiosyncratic books while hosting events to support authors. Through it all, they serve as neighborhood community centers for readers and book lovers.
But the pandemic has been hard on independent bookstores. Many have had to make direct appeals to their customers through GoFundMe and other crowdsourced campaigns. Local bookstores are facing what Dorany Pineda of the Los Angeles Times calls an “existential crossroads.”
Losing our independent bookstores would be a truly devastating blow to the literary community and would only entrench the dominance of Amazon. A world without brick-and-mortar indie bookstores is not a world we want to live in.
So Air/Light wants to help in our own small way. In a series of podcasts, we talk with the owners and workers at independent bookstores around Los Angeles to explore how they’re moving forward during COVID, what they’re looking forward to, what people are buying and reading, and more. Through this series we explore the art of bookselling.
It’s also our hope that after you listen to these interviews, you’ll go online or in person—masked up and socially distant, of course—and support your local indie bookstore.
In the first episode, Air/Light’s Katarina Dames speaks with Josh Spencer, owner and operator of The Last Bookstore in Downtown Los Angeles. Listen to the interview and then go do some holiday shopping…locally and independently!