From 1985-2000 Burbank and North Hollywood had a thriving trade in Books
by Paul Hunt
Here’s the guide to the book shops of the period: This was a tri-fold, so if you print this on both sides of one sheet and then fold in thirds, you will have an exact replica.
The once thriving book trade in the Burbank – North Hollywood area is long gone. The high rents are the culprit here, as the normal turnover due to booksellers retiring or dying is usually replaced by the younger generation. This is no longer the case, as what few apprentices as there are have no means to open a brick and mortar shop under the current climate of real estate insanity.
Let’s do a quick overview of the above flyer, in order of listing.
- Autobooks/Aerobooks. This great bookstore, which has been around for at least 50 years, had to vacate their big store and move east on Magnolia Blvd, where they are still in business at 2900 W. Magnolia Blvd. The phone number remains the same. The store is owned by a woman, believe it or not, named Tina. I think she is the third owner. She does a fantastic job, and had to move to the current spot due to the high rent at the old location on the map.
- Automotive Book Stop. Owned and operated by Fred and Chris Chappiro, they closed the shop retired in 2016, although they may still be selling some rare items online.
- Bestseller Book Shop. Store closed several years ago. I started this store with a partner, it was all paperback books, and quite successful. Massive rent spikes put it out.
- Bond Street Bookshop. This store later became Atlantis Book Shop. The original Burbank Book Castle started here, owned by Larry Mullins and Mark Marlow, who was Jerry Weinstein’s son. Marlow dropped out and Mullins had a few other partners, eventually selling the store to James Brucker. When Brucker bought the big Woolworth Building up the street with an investor-partner, he moved the Burbank Book Shop up there, and it was later incorporated into the Book Castle, Inc. A fun note about real estate prices, Brucker and investor Vince Capizzi paid about $365,000 for the building in 1979. Now sole owner Capizzi has it up for sale for 7.2 Million! A nice tidy profit. The store is long gone, the entire block torn down by Burbank Redevelopment for condos, banks and posh eateries.
- Book Castle . This was owned by Book Castle but operated as Avon Book Shop, specializing in scarce and rare books. The store was managed by Ted Miller. It closed many years ago when the rent went up.
- Book City – Burbank. This store is long gone, although years after it closed a dollar book store opened for a short time. This shop was run by Alan Siegel, who owned Hollywood Book City. It was a huge shop, with a lot of good books. As I remember it opened around 1980, but then closed for months after the ill-constructed back loft collapsed. Luckily this happened in the middle of the night, because anyone underneath would have been crushed to jello.
- Cook Books, Janet Jarvits moved to this location from her office next door to Bond Street, taking over the premises when Jack Garvin retired. She was forced out by high rents and moved to North Pasadena and was at Hill and Washington for years, until once again forced to close because of the rents. Now looking for a new spot.
- Dutton’s Books – Burbank. Store Closed years ago, see post about it and the Dutton Book Empire, click here.
- Dutton’s Books, North Hollywood. This was Dave Dutton’s flagship store. When business took a dive in the 2008 crash he retired. The premises was a Yoga Studio for a while, I don’t know who is in there now. It was a great shop, and I spent many hours browsing there.
- Iliad Bookshop. Owned by Dan Weinstien, he was forced to re-locate when the rent spike hit. This shop on Vineland was famous for its great Mural that covered all three storefronts. Dan found another spot and managed to scrape enough together to buy his building, and is now at 5400 Cahuenga Blvd., in North Hollywood. He has a great new Mural that runs on two sides of the building, as we have written about and photographed on this site. Treat yourself to a visit to this wonderful store, packed with good books and with really great prices. This is the last big book shop to survive in the area, so please support it. One of his cats is pictured on our banner.
- Magnolia Park Book Shop. This shop started over 70 years ago by two guys who were remainder book salesmen. They eventually sold to a gentleman who died in a tragic car crash. His widow ran the shop for years. I rented the shop in 1993 when she retired. Shop ran for about 10 years when it was closed due to high rent, the stock totally liquidated in a month long sale, what didn’t sell was given to charities.
- Movie and Magazine World. This movie memorabilia store is still going strong, my ex-partner Steve Edrington keeps it filled with great movie and film material.
- Sam’s Book City. This was the original Valley Book City, which was opened by Jerry Weinstein when he and partner Alan Siegel split up. It was doing well, but the big Metro Station project destroyed everything in its path. That part of Lankersheim was full of old furniture stores, antique shops and book stores. What wasn’t ripped out for the Metro either went bankrupt due to the endless years of construction, or the big Academy housing project. Now a totally different scene, bars, Starbucks, fast food, movie theaters. Sam’s Book City, by the way, long gone and all stock liquidated.
I hope you enjoyed this overview, I have some photos and more to say about some of these shops if anyone actually wants to know. The end result is that out of the 14 shops on the flyer only 3 are still surviving in the area, which has gone through massive gentrification, Los Angeles and Burbank pouring billions of dollars into the area which has greatly benefited large real estate and corporate interests.