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Watching Skylight Books grow

August 1, 2008 |  2:03 pm


Vroman's lent book carts. The Los Feliz Library brought more carts and donated lanyards. Duttons sold them their phone system, a rack for greeting cards and lots of other supplies. Skylight Books was bursting out of its Vermont Avenue location and, on Wednesday, invited volunteers to help move a big chunk of its stock to the new addition down the street, called 1814.

"Nothing is going in a box," Kerry Slattery, Skylight's co-owner explained. She took the advice of other booksellers who've moved; Denver's Tattered Cover had many recommendations, but the most important, they emphasized, was to "Get as many carts as you can." Since Skylight's addition was a few doors down -- downhill, to be exact -- the move was, at times, precarious (see video after the jump). But nothing toppled.

Robyn Myers, who has coordinated 180 moves for the Los Angeles Public Library, commented that things were going very well. "They've got a lot of nice volunteers," she said.

Jannah Maresh considered volunteering just another way to support her local bookstore; she buys her books there, too. "I could have easily gotten 'The Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao' by Junot Diaz somewhere else (like Amazon)," she said. "But I wanted to do it here. This is my neighborhood."

Being a neighborhood bookstore is part of what Slattery attributes to Skylight's success. It hosts readings, a new salon series and special events that keep people coming back. Volunteer Shaun Klaseus, who attended last summer's Harry Potter sleepover to be one of the first to get "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows," not only shops at Skylight; he brings his dates there, too.

Now he'll be able to bring them to two spaces. The new addition will house books on art and architecture, fashion and film, interior design and graphic design, photography, music and theater, and all the magazines. Everything else, including fiction, travel, history and the children's section, will be in the original Skylight.

The new space has a skylight, too. She wouldn't have even considered leasing the space, Slattery joked, if it didn't.

After the jump: a video of the Skylight move.


Carolyn Kellogg