Friday, February 27, 2009

Gay Bookstores Keep Closing

And NO, I'm not talking about THOSE bookstores (they seem to be doing just fine - not that I would know...)


Towleroad reported this week that A Different Light bookstore (above) in Los Angeles will close after 30 years. Two weeks earlier, Towleroad reported that the Oscar Wilde Memorial Bookshop in NYC (the nation's oldest operating GLBT bookstore) will close it's doors on March 29.

This is so sad. When I first came out of the closet I loved going to gay bookstores (read my post about Philadelphia's Giovanni's Room - which is still in business - HERE). Gay bookstores always seemed like such a positive environment (as opposed to the bars) - and you never woke up with a hangover after visiting one. You could cruise for hot smarties (or smart hotties) and didn't have to buy expensive cocktails. Oh ... and there were BOOKS there too!!!

There used to be a Different Light branch in NYC - and when I was young I went there all the time. It closed a few years ago, and soon their San Francisco store (and their website) will be the only locations left.

I walked into Oscar Wilde (below) recently and nothing had changed. It was still small, and some of the same books I bought at gay bookstores in the past (Faggot by Larry Kramer, Dancer From The Dance by Andrew Holleran, and Best Little Boy In The World by Andrew Tobias) still line those shelves today. Back when I was young, you could ONLY find these books at a gay bookstore.


Nowadays, everyone buys everything online or at some Supercenter, so bookstores of all persuasions have been dropping like flies. It's just so sad that the bookstores that helped gay boys like me feel better about themselves have to meet the same fate.

9 comments:

Jennie said...

I hate to see any bookstore close. We just lost a Sac institution, Beers Used Books. I cried, remembering browsing those old stacks.

Wonder Man said...

it's sad to see this happen

Mark in DE said...

I believe those gay bookstores existed because they were the only place you could find gay books. But the internet has changed all that. Its sad, but its also a sign of progress. Think of how many gay boys can order gay books online who didn't live close enough to go to a gay bookstore.

mistress maddie said...

I don't know what Philadelphia would do if Gioavanni's Room would close. That would be awful. I believe they do a good business from what I hear still. I was just there last week. And a pretty good crowd. Next time your here we should go girl. And then hit a happy hour!!!!!!!!!

Kailyn said...

Just one more reason to visit San Francisco.

Mr. Jones said...

Man....tell me about it. Lambda Rising, a LGBT chain in the Baltimore-Washington area closed some stores including the one in my neighborhood. :-(

Berry Blog said...

So much is available on line now that doesn't have the price tag of bookstores...especially gay book stores.
Did you ever read the book Giovanni's Room by the black author? Bob featured him in his black month series. Beautiful sad story.
We have a porn store in Oxford, Me up the road...a most unlikely location. Hardly even a town. Caters to everybody ( no books). got a back room vid section. Never been back there but the stories that come out of there ....hair raising.I mean it's straight territory crossing the line on the downlow. $7 to go through the curtain for as long as you want, but step outside for a cig, and it's $7 more. Well, you see, I'd never last in a place like that- the way I smoke?
xoxoxo Charlie

Bob said...

Oh ... and there were BOOKS there too!!!""

Love that line.
Love bookstores.
Loved gay bookstores--not that we have any in Smallville, but there used to be a good one I went to in Sacramento.

Sad to see this happen

Vera said...

This kind of breaks my heart. I've been to the San Francisco Different Light and I was amazed by the variety. Such a difference from a small LGBT sections I found in my local bookstores, although I was lucky in that my local bookstores at least tried.

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