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Book Soup still has a fighting chance

January 28, 2009 |  9:25 am

The L.A. book world is worried about the future of West Hollywood's Book Soup since its owner died. But Susan Salter Reynolds writes that many indie book stores, including Book Soup, are doing fine despite the economy. And that might give Book Soup hope for surviving:

"When a wise man dies," Rabbi David Wolpe asked at the memorial service for Book Soup owner Glenn Goldman, "how can he be replaced?" For customers, employees, sales reps, writers and just about everyone who ever wandered into the Sunset Boulevard bookshop, this question has taken on an added significance in the wake of Goldman's death on Jan. 3 from pancreatic cancer. He was 58. What will happen to Book Soup? Like most great bookstores, it is the product of one book lover's taste and vision. Most of the store's 60,000 volumes were handpicked by Goldman for a clientele he knew intimately after 33 years in the same neighborhood. In recent decades, independent bookstores have become endangered, closing as chain stores move into their neighborhoods and market share is gobbled up by online booksellers such as Amazon .com. Some, like Dutton's Brentwood Bookstore, closed when the cost of real estate (usually rented, rarely owned) swamped small (though reliable) profit margins.

-- Shelby Grad

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