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Dutton's Closing for Good
Sad, sad news in bookish LA: Dutton's Brentwood is closing its doors. After a long battle with developers and uncertainty, which we covered last year, Doug Dutton has made the difficult decision to close.
He points out, though, that Charles T. Munger, the developer that has purchased the property, has "has committed to a significant amount of financial support for the difficult process of closing the store, and we appreciate his generosity."
We are saddened at the loss of this great bookstore that hosted some of the finest readings in Los Angeles. Our weekly roundup of bookish events simply will not be the same without their listings. Here's to hoping they find a new home or manage to somehow re-open in their old home. More coverage to come once we've gotten over the shock. Between this closure and Beyond Baroque's imminent danger, we're beginning to lose faith in this town's ability to protect such valuable, independent places for the arts and artists to find expression.
Doug Dutton's full letter to LA readers and patrons is below the jump.
"It is with profound regret and sorrow that Dutton's Brentwood Books must announce that it will be closing on April 30, 2008. As our regular customers and friends well know, the past year for the store has been one of upheaval and turmoil. Hard on the heels of the closure of the Dutton's Beverly Hills location came word that the Brentwood property had changed ownership, and the new owner, Charles T. Munger, announced plans to redevelop the property. The multiple uncertainties of the bookstore's future, combined with the encumbrances associated with the closure of the Beverly Hills store have crippled the store's ability to provide the kind of immediate service and depth of inventory that our customers have come to rightly expect.
It is no secret that the store today is a shadow of its former self. Given our situation as it now stands, the pride we feel in our past achievements, and the vagaries of the current book market, shuttering our doors seems the only realistic solution. It is important to note that Charles Munger has committed to a significant amount of financial support for the difficult process of closing the store, and we appreciate his generosity.
Be assured, especially those of you who have regularly asked, "How are things going at the store," that every effort has been made to try to sensibly and rationally save this enterprise. Those efforts continued up until last week. It is the uncertainty that has, more than any other factor, led us to this painful decision. It has arrested improvement to the physical property, impacted inventory, and made it impossible for our extraordinary staff to provide the level of service that they are accustomed to giving.
We have been asked if the store will reopen in the proposed new development, or at another site in the area. At present, any plans to reopen or relocate will have to await a real offer in a real situation, combined with a sober assessment of the realities of the book world. That said, we have not said "no" to any future possibility.
The one certainty that we have relied upon for our many years at this location is the honest and dedicated support by this community to the value of books and bookstores in general, and to this one in particular. This is a demonstrable fact, proven repeatedly, and while we openly acknowledge our debt to our customers for their years, and even decades, of support, we further ask for your understanding and forbearance in the extremely difficult months ahead."
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