In the last few years, we’ve seen an increase in both book sales and number of indie bookstores.

While Amazon’s rise could have meant a gloomy future for bookstores – it did hurt Barnes and Borders, after all – independent books have been able to find good footing in these times. While selling books is their first mission, they’re also about creating welcoming spaces for the community, connecting and advocating over the lack of exposure to literature for communities of color. It’s likely why we’ve seen more niche bookstores pop up in the last few years.

This is no different in Los Angeles, where Latino run-bookstores are not only on the map, but are also thriving. Below, check out five of these shops.

1

Seite

Located in the heart of East Los Angeles, this tiny bookshop sells a variety of used books which are affordable to the community. Opened in 2009 by Adam Bernales and Denice Diaz, the duo realized that there were not many bookstores around and decided to start one themselves. “My mom offered us a space, and we were thinking about what to do – we thought it would be useful to have a bookstore,” Diaz tells Remezcla.

Seite
419 N Rowan Ave, Los Angeles, California 90063

2

LA Libreria

Posted by LA-libreria on Tuesday, December 11, 2018

It’s not often that you come across a Spanish-language bookshop in Los Angeles, let alone for children. That is why LA Libreria is such a unique children’s bookstore, which specializes in carrying Spanish literature imported from publishing houses in Latin America and Spain. Owner Celene Navarrete and co-owner Chiara Arroyo wanted to promote not only the importance of children’s literature, but the importance of bilingualism in the Latinx community as a means to stay culturally connected.

“With LA Libreria, we seek to promote the amazingly rich traditions of children’s literature in Spanish, the benefits of bilingualism, and the pleasure of reading, seeing, and feeling well written, beautifully illustrated books with a child,” the site’s About section reads.

LA Libreria also partners and organizes cultural events for the community at its location and all over Southern California to advocate for Spanish reading around the country. Established in 2012, this one-of-a-kind bookstore can be found in Mid City, Los Angeles.

LA Libreria
4732 W. Washington Blvd., Los Angeles, California 90016

3

Libros Schmibros Lending Library

Founder and journalist David Kipen, along with co-founder Professor Colleen Jaurretche, opened Libros Schmibros Lending Library in 2010. The volunteer staffed library is located in the Mariachi Plaza of Boyle Heights, serving the predominantly Latinx community that reside in that area. According to its mission statement, “Libros Schmibros champions the pleasures of literature and its power to change lives.” The library has held more than 100 community events and has more than 20,000 members. With the goal of shedding light on the benefits of reading, Libros Schmibros lends books for cheap and up to no cost to locals.

Libros Schmibros Lending Library
103 N. Boyle Ave., Los Angeles, California 90033

4

Other Books, Comics, and Zines

Down Cesar Chavez Avenue, the owners from Seite opened a second bookshop location, Other Books. Just a seven-minute drive from each other, this bookstore sells both used and new literature.

“The focus here was to try selling new books, try a bigger space where we can do events, where we can host open mics and share space with other people who are trying to do things,” Adam Bernales said.

Other Books, Comics, and Zines
2006 E. Cesar E Chavez Ave., Los Angeles, California 90033

5

Tía Chucha’s Centro Cultural & Bookstore

Tía Chucha’s is not just your average bookstore, but also a cultural center. It was founded in 2001 by Chicano poet and writer Luis J. Rodriguez, wife Trini Rodriguez, and brother-in-law Enrique Sanchez. Located in the San Fernando Valley, just on the outskirts of Los Angeles, Tia Chucha’s has become a space specifically for the Latinx community who persistently hold cultural events.

Tia Chucha’s Centro Cultural & Bookstore
13197 Gladstone Ave,, Sylmar, California 91342