We had the good fortune of connecting with Lynn Klopfer and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Lynn, how do you think about risk?
Risk is everything. It’s putting yourself out there, letting yourself be vulnerable to critics, but also to enjoy the fruits of your labor and creative expression. We’ve been thinking a lot about risk in the last few months, given the stay at home orders we’ve all experienced. There was (and always is really), a tendency to just ‘give up’ in a way when a road block is presented, and it’s been very interesting to re-group, focus and organize, and to lay down plans for more risk taking in the future. It is exciting (if you let it be), to think what we’ll be doing as we move out of these ‘stay at home directions.’ For a bookseller, stay at home orders actually helped our business, as much as we’d like to see the seriousness of the pandemic over. Where we will go from here becomes an exciting opportunity to take more risks.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
The idea of selling ‘books on the street’ is not a new one, but one that needed to be upheld, perhaps more now than ever given the social justice reforms that are taking place in the city, the country, and the world. For over fifteen years we have been setting up ‘book installations’ in and around Southern California bringing diverse literature to folks who may not be regular bookstore goers, or if there are any bookstore even left in local neighborhoods. We provide reading material for people who need it, and are able to be generous to organizations that need it, based on our success.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Grand Central Market in Downtown is a favorite for any meal, really gives a peek into the history of Los Angeles and I great for people watching. From there I would take anyone with a penchant for good beer to Angel City Brewery, also of great historical significance given the cables for the Golden Gate Bridge were made there. I’d take anyone to Little Tokyo for the best sushi around, and fun shops and culture to be found there. And as a bookseller, I’d want anyone to see the marvelous Last Bookstore, and possibly a dip in for a fine cocktail at The Library Bar next to Central Library, an architectural gem that speaks to the deep history of books in this city. I’d try to show off the downtown spots featured in John Fante’s epic ‘Ask the Dust’, some of which are still there. A tour of Downtown LA would be centered around literary spots, because that’s the language we speak.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Downtown Los Angeles, the city itself, has been one of our biggest champions, or I should say the people who live there and do business from venues and events we work with. From SmorgasburgLA, Artist and Fleas, Grand Central Market, and Fold Gallery above The Last Bookstore, we have an incredible network of people from diverse backgrounds in DTLA who love our product and brand of ‘good, fine, literature’, or as we’ve said for years, “Cool Books…cheap.” So Downtown LA gets our shoutout right about now.
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