Southern California -- this just in

« Previous Post | L.A. NOW Home | Next Post »

Final chapter for Dutton's bookstore as owner announces last day

Dutton_jbs27bnc_3 After months of upheaval and uncertainty, Dutton's bookstore, Brentwood's beloved literary center, is closing. Last chapter, last page, final word, covers closed. Done.

Expect plenty of crying and moaning and gnashing of teeth, including from folks with Costco bestsellers on their nightstands and Amazon.com boxes in the recycling. Here's the start of Doug Dutton's memo - that's Doug in the photo - which describes the series of body blows his store just couldn't survive:

As our regular customers and friends well know, the past year for the store has been one of upheaval and turmoil. Hard on the heels of the closure of the Dutton’s Beverly Hills location came word that the Brentwood property had changed ownership, and the new owner, Charles T. Munger, announced plans to redevelop the property.

The multiple uncertainties of the bookstore’s future, combined with the encumbrances associated with the closure of the Beverly Hills store have crippled the store’s ability to provide the kind of immediate service and depth of inventory that our customers have come to rightly expect.

Full text on Dutton's website, where the motto "Serving the greater Brentwood community for over twenty years" leaves you wondering why Dutton's itself wasn't better served. (Shelf Awareness is the first litblog to weigh in.) Last day is April 30.

Worst thing? The flock of people who will step foot into the place for the very first time in search of going-out-of-business bargains.

-- Veronique de Turenne

PHOTO: Ken Hively / Los Angeles Times

Comments () | Archives (3)

This is so sad!! The closing of Dutton's marks the end of an era of personalized service and the pleasure of discovery that no web browser can replicate. It brings to mind all the great westside L.A. bookstores of the past -- Papabachs, Westwood Books, Sisterhood Bookstore, Midnight Special -- first eaten alive by the mega-chains and then the Internet. Dutton's was the last of the best and will be sorely missed.

I have never understood why affluent white liberals mourn the loss of a bookstore far more than the crime of unequal opportunity and the widening achievement gap of the children in their own city.

Why aren't we talking about the poor condition of schools in Los Angeles?

Or the lack of job opportunities for those of us who could not afford to go to USC or Stanford?

This reminds me of the time when the Westside excoriated Schwarzenegger for trying to save state money by putting dogs at the pound to sleep.

It is this perverse set of priorities that opens up progressives, liberals and the Democratic Party to attacks from the Right.

Like Dinah Berland, I remember them all: the great independents on the westside. I can only echo what every book lover feels--a terrible blow for us all. No more the gentle warmth of Doug and his able staff. No more bookstore congeniality. No place left that invites meandering discovery through the different wings of the best book store in the city.


Recommended on Facebook


In Case You Missed It...


About L.A. Now
L.A. Now is the Los Angeles Times’ breaking news section for Southern California. It is produced by more than 80 reporters and editors in The Times’ Metro section, reporting from the paper’s downtown Los Angeles headquarters as well as bureaus in Costa Mesa, Long Beach, San Diego, San Francisco, Sacramento, Riverside, Ventura and West Los Angeles.
Have a story tip for L.A. Now?
Please send to newstips@latimes.com
Can I call someone with news?
Yes. The city desk number is (213) 237-7847.


Get Alerts on Your Mobile Phone

Sign me up for the following lists: