The last little Latino bookstore in downtown Palm Springs is in its last days.
Until recently things were going pretty well for the owners, Luciano Ramirez, a retired teacher and school administrator, and his wife, Tonia.When they opened Latino Books y Más in 2003, there were at least six other independent bookstores in the Coachella Valley, Ramirez told The Times.
“We carved out a niche,” he said. Latino Books y Más sold books in Spanish and books by Latin American and U.S. Latino writers in English. And Mexican folk art. Octavio Paz and Victor Villaseñor were among their bestselling authors.
One by one, the other, English-language bookstores closed, Ramirez said. “So we started selling Stephen King, Nora Roberts and James Patterson because people would come in and ask for them.” Ramirez claims Latino Books is the last independent bookstore left in the Coachella Valley.
Ramirez, 67, is still selling lots of books and art, and his lease isn’t up. “We were doing well, paying all our bills on time,” he said. But his little storefront on North Palm Canyon Drive is scheduled to be demolished as part of a project to revitalize the old Desert Fashion Plaza mall downtown.
This week, Ramirez lost his fight in a Riverside County court to stay open. “We’re being evicted,” he said.
So now the Ramirezes are having a sale, selling off all 20,000 books and other items at discount prices over the next three weeks.
Will Latino Books y Más reopen one day, perhaps, in another location?
“Right now, no,” Ramirez said. “We’re going to take a little vacation. But next week we could change our mind.”