Katie O'Laughlin announced today "with great regret and sadness" that she will close Village Books on June 30, after fourteen years in Pacific Palisades. "Village Books has struggled financially for the past 10 years," O'Laughlin says on the store's website, "but I was able to somehow make it work. Unfortunately, recent changes in the book business have made it impossible to continue operating the store in its present form." On Patch she says, "We had a 32 percent drop in sales January and it just kept dropping . . . to 40 percent.” Village Books will continue to sell online, apparently.
There have been previous scares about Village Books, which is in that part of the Pacific Palisades shopping village where staying open for everybody has been a struggle. Tom Hanks stepped up to help save the store during the holiday season of 2008. In January 2010 O'Laughlin asked customers to come in and buy books. It worked for awhile.
O'Laughlin published a letter to readers in today's Palisadian-Post. Excerpt:
Many people have already asked, 'What can we do to help?' The single most important thing you can do is come into the store this month and buy a book(s). I need your help to be able to wind down the business (and stay out of debtor's prison!!). I also invite you to share your memories of Village Books by coming in and writing in our memory book, posting on our Facebook wall, or e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org or me directly at Katie@palivillagebooks.com.
Even though the doors at 1049 Swarthmore will be closed after almost 14 years, the spirit of Village Books will live on. I am thinking of this transition time as 'Village Books ' To go!' I hope that authors, publishers, schools and anyone who would have asked Village Books to provide books for an offsite event will continue to do so. I will pack up my 'BookmoBeetle' and be there. I hope you will continue to purchase books and download your electronic books from our Web site. Please also keep visiting our Web site for recommendations and information'our staff will continue to post their book suggestions.
Photo: O'Laughlin, left, and manager Mia Wigmore in the Palisadian-Post by Rich Schmitt