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Bookstore flourishes as other independents wither [Updated]

March 6, 2010 |  6:30 pm

Photo: Karen David, 4, looks through a children's book while waiting as her father browses some of the store's 100,000 volumes. Owner Dan Weinstein named the business Iliad Bookshop because it was originally next to a video store called the Odyssey. Credit: Bob Chamberlin / Los Angeles Times

"The Iliad," the epic verse of the Greek poet Homer, is known in the world of classic literature as a tragedy. But the fate of the North Hollywood bookstore that bears its name has been anything but.

In the age of e-books, Amazon.com and discount chain stores, the Iliad Bookshop remains a rare success story. Recently Dutton's, once a popular fixture in literary Los Angeles, joined the growing list of independent book retailers to shut their doors.

"I'm sort of the last man standing," said Dan Weinstein, 47, proprietor of the Iliad, one of the city's largest used-book stores.

Photo: Zola the cat, a furry fixture of the shop, is among the homey touches that appeal to many Iliad customers. Credit: Bob Chamberlin / Los Angeles Times The Iliad, located on a quiet stretch of Cahuenga Boulevard, has not only survived but recently expanded from 3,200 square feet to 5,000 square feet. Weinstein purchased the building four years ago when his landlord at the shop's previous and highly visible location on Vineland Avenue raised the rent.

"I've tried to stay competitive with pricing," Weinstein said in explaining his business philosophy.

"I try not to put junk on the shelves. To me, that's nothing more than a turnoff."

The Iliad boasts a collection of more than 100,000 volumes of mostly used books covering a wide range of subjects, including philosophy, history, biography, music, erotica and the arts. Books about Hollywood and the movies are among the store's bestsellers.

Then there's Zola, the one-eyed tabby cat.

Read more here.

[Corrected at 6:30 p.m. March 12: This post initially said the Bodhi Tree Bookstore in West Hollywood had closed. The store is still open and is expected to remain so until 2011. The owners of the store have sold the property and are looking for a buyer for the business who would continue operating the bookstore at a different location.]

--Ann M. Simmons

Top photo: Karen David, 4, looks through a children's book while waiting as her father browses some of the store's 100,000 volumes. Owner Dan Weinstein named the business Iliad Bookshop because it was originally next to a video store called the Odyssey.

Credit: Bob Chamberlin / Los Angeles Times

Bottom photo: Zola the cat, a furry fixture at the shop, is among the homey touches that appeal to many Iliad customers.

Credit: Bob Chamberlin / Los Angeles Times

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