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In Defense of Equator Books

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Equator Books, a bookstore and art gallery specializing in rare and out-of-print books in Venice, Ca, will be forced to close its doors very soon without your help. It seems that there is no longer enough money or will in the collective coffers of Los Angeles book lovers and cultural elite to sustain an institution that serves its city and neighborhood with a unique, hand-selected inventory of art and literature.

At a time when impossible amounts of money are shuffling from our government to industrial ventures failing in spectacular fashion, the amount required to save this institution from the demands of cranky creditors and the very real concerns of landlords and vendors amounts to a mere pittance and yet, despite the almost universal lamentation that we're losing our cultural institutions--and nowhere is it worse than in the world of independent booksellers--the wealthy and powerful sophisticates of the city of Los Angeles can't seem to part with an amount of cash that it would take one of them to rev up a Gulfstream for a trip to New York to attend a board meeting, to save our valuable local cultural assets that struggle on a more modest scale.

Now, I'm a part owner and although I've never seen a dime from the place, I do have a vested interest in its survival, but it is not, nor has it ever been, about the money. Because this is a business, and not a museum, and we can not claim the enviable tax status (501(c)3) of the Getty or the MOCA, we operate on very different and less advantageous terms. It's about books, and although libraries are widely free to the public, it's hard to make the argument that they alone can sustain the literary life of a community. A book is not an object to admire from afar, but something that can be possessed for a relatively modest sum, taken home and pondered for a lifetime, lived with. Who wants to live in a time and town without bookstores?

Our store has a direct and dynamic relationship with our community and the people in it, something that cannot be replicated by the impersonal corporate behemoth. Ask Brentwood how they've benefited from the closing of Dutton's. To look at the news and listen to the promises you would think that businesses like ours were the ones that the government was eager to support, but almost all attempts at securing capital, whether through donation or loan has been met with either a frosty incredulity or derisive mirth.

There must be a believer out there, one with both the foresight and resources to keep our city from becoming a wasteland of corporate chain stores, uninspired conformity and heartless mediocrity, and we think saving Equator Books would be a very good place to start.

For our location, to donate, or find other ways of helping, visit our web site.

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