The independent bookstore is an endangered species but a few passionate bibliophiles defy Amazon and the chains to keep their doors open. Natalie Compagno and Greg Freitas are a well-traveled couple who bought the Traveler’s Bookcase in mid-town Los Angeles four years ago, and built on the success of its original owner. Their tiny storefront, a couple of blocks from the Goliath of the Beverly Center mall, overflows with books (10,000 at the last count), maps, globes, and a kid’s section. They have imports you’ll not find online, and you can clear a space on the sofa, compare one map with another, and make the best choice for driving or hiking.
First-time tourists and seasoned travelers come here to browse and seek advice, for the owners are eager to share their finds and they have field tested all the guides in trips to distant places and closer to home. “We find new publications when we travel,” says Natalie, “and our customers give us lots of recommendations.” There may be as few as eight travel bookstores left in the US, and three of them (including the well-stocked Distant Lands in Pasadena, and Wide World Books in Seattle) are on the West Coast. At Traveler’s Bookcase you feel as though you are wandering through a friend’s well-stocked library—an experience you’ll never have on-line or in a chain store.
Travelers Bookcase is located at 8375 West 3rd in Los Angeles. / Ph: 323 655 0575
around the world.