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Book City to hit the bricks

Jackson Bell

Book City, a Burbank Village fixture for the past 23 years, is

expected to permanently close its doors as early as the end of the



Owner Alan Seigel decided not to renew his 20-year lease on the

store at 308 N. San Fernando Blvd. after being told his rent would

climb from $2,500 to $11,000 per month. The increase, he said, forced

him to reevaluate the store’s profitability.


“We pay the rent and our help,” Seigel said. “But we are just


Seigel said his landlord, Triad Management, has given him until

June 13 to move out. But Seigel plans to close sooner so he can move

what’s left of his 300,000-book inventory.

A Triad Management representative declined to comment for this


Seigel, meanwhile, suspects the rent increase is related to


revitalization of the downtown corridor. The AMC Entertainment

Village is expected to be completed by the middle of next month, and

Urban Outfitters will move into the vacant Newberry building in the


A shift in the public’s interests, Seigel added, has hurt


“We live in a changing time where people don’t read as much

anymore,” Seigel said. “And it seems even harder with customers going


to the Internet.”

Except for a prosperous period between the late 1980s and the

early 1990s when Book City sold art books to Disney animators before

the Internet took hold, Seigel said the store has never fared well in


In addition to the Village location, Seigel owns a second Book

City in Hollywood that has been in business for 30 years.

A native of Brooklyn, N.Y., who married into a family of retail

bookstore owners, Seigel has witnessed a shift in the emphasis of

Burbank Village over the years.

“Back then, it was mostly retail stores,” he said. “Now, it is

mostly restaurants. I guess they bring more business.”

For Book City shopper Joyce Okura, a collector of second- hand

books, the store’s closing will be a loss to the community.

“These kind of books are interesting,” Okura said. “And it’s sad

because you can find a lot of items here that you can’t even find at


For now, Seigel is focusing on moving what’s left of his

inventory. All remaining books are marked down 50%. Whatever remains,

he said, will either end up in storage or be sold at The Galaxy, a

bookstore in Hollywood not owned by Seigel.