Belmont Shore bookseller Apostrophe Books closed on Saturday. In addition to the usual pressures on brick-and-mortar booksellers, merchants in that section of Long Beach have been talking about a recent unexplained dearth of customers, the Press-Telegram says. “I’ve lost count of how many merchants have come in to our store and asked, ‘Do you know what’s going on?’” co-owner Lisa Somerville said.
Somerville said she and her partner, Valerie Kingsland, have been selling books together for 23 years. They started doing business in Port Townsend, Washington, before relocating to Southern California in 2005. Somerville and Kingsland operated a store at the Paseo Colorado shopping center in Pasadena before opening their Belmont Shore store in 2010.
The pair initially established Apostrophe Books in a storefront near the western edge of Belmont Shore’s Second Street business corridor, between Roycroft and Park avenues. Somerville and Kingsland relocated again in 2014, moving about a third of a mile to the east, taking a space between Corona and Covina avenues.
The closure of a nearby Starbucks coffee house and a subsequent decline in foot traffic necessitated that move. Somerville said she and Kingsland had hoped their new spot — across the street from the popular Legends Sports Bar — would result in more customers coming in to buy books, several of which came from the work of local authors.
“The big boxes don’t often take in local authors, so we were proud of that,” Somerville said.