Brand Bookshop to close doors after 29 years

Brand Bookshop to close doors after 29 years
A man searches the shelves of used books in at Brand Bookshop. The store will be closing its doors this summer after 29 years in business. (File Photo)

[UPDATED 7/1/2014, 5:20 p.m.] After 29 years in business, Brand Bookshop will be closing its doors.

Noriaki Nakano, adopted son of owner Jerome Joseph, said the decision to close the store was due to Joseph's poor health after a fall he took in July 2013.

"He lost the ability he used to have, not just simple memory, but the ability to handle or comprehend the business," Nakano said, adding that the store will close next month.

Joseph is now in an assisted living facility in Glendale because he is unable to live alone, Nakano said.

In addition, Nakano said it doesn't make sense to invest more in a business that is not bringing in a lot of money.

"I want to use the money for a better life for [Joseph], and to spend more time with him," he said.

Nakano, who is 66, said he has reached the age for retirement himself.

The 5,000-square-foot bookshop has an inventory of about 100,000 books, Nakano said.

"It's a big operation," he said.

Joseph opened Brand Bookshop in 1985 with his business partner, Larry Mullen, a science-fiction enthusiast who suggested the idea back when bookstores were still thriving, Nakano told the News-Press in a previous interview.

"Business was good around 1993 up to about 2003 and that's when business began to really slow because of the Internet and the economy," Nakano told the News-Press in November 2013. "Lots of bookstores are downsizing or closing right now."

Nakano said at the time that sales at Brand Bookshop were down by 30% to 40%.

Holiday discounts boosted sales somewhat, but not as much as in past years, he said on Saturday.

"The book business has changed dramatically," he said. "People do not need to buy books. They can actually access reading any book on the Internet, so I understand, in a way, it's very practical, especially among the young generation."

After the store sent out a notice about its closing to its email list of 2,600 people, Nakano said he received many responses from customers who were sad to see the store close.

Chuck Weiss, a La Crescenta resident, has been going to Brand Bookshop for the past 15 years.

"I would spend half a day in there — on a cloudy day or rainy day. I'd get a cup of coffee first, then hang out in the bookstore," he said, adding that the shop's expansive science section set it apart from other small bookstores.

"I'm just heartbroken that it's going to be gone after being around so long," he said. "As Glendale gets bigger and bigger, it's sad to see all the little things that made it unique go away."

As part of the store's closing sale, all books will be 50% off from July 1 until the store closes.

Customers with store credit are also encouraged to spend it as soon as possible.

"My dad has actually built up such an empire, it was really a cultural landmark in the city of Glendale and it will be missed by many, many people," Nakano said. "But nothing lasts forever. It's time to close and move on."