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Final chapter? Steve Lopez on Dutton's sad news

February 25, 2008 |  2:14 pm


The closing of Dutton’s Brentwood Books, possibly for good, is easy to understand and hard to accept. Reminiscences don’t pay the bills, nor does nostalgia stand up against changes in the retail market or the shrinking appreciation of well-read employees who can recommend books you won’t find on airplanes or beaches.

I’ll remember night-out dates with my wife when we’d meet at Dutton’s, browse the shelves, then go across to dinner at Pizzicotto.

I’ll remember being on book tour, which can be a humiliating experience as you visit one giant chain after another where even the store clerks have never heard of you or your book, and feeling relieved by the welcome and the audience at Dutton’s.

I’ll remember watching Al Martinez read from his latest book as I sat with his wife and my wife, and with fans of Al’s, feeling very much like the whole affair was a gathering of friends in someone’s living room.

Read Steve Lopez's recent columns.