Pasadena travel bookshop Distant Lands will close bricks-and-mortar store to focus on web sales

Distant Lands, Pasadena
Pasadena travel bookstore Distant Lands plans to close its bricks-and-mortar operation to focus on web retailing.
(Distant Lands )

Distant Lands, a Pasadena travel shop that has sold books, maps, accessories and staged programs by writers since 1989, will close it brick-and-mortar store on Friday.

On Distant Lands’ website, owner Adrian Kalvinskas said the shop would continue as a web-based retailer at, specializing in travel-related books, luggage and other travel tools. Susan Hickman, the Distant Lands travel agent, will continue to offer services through the website, using the email

Meanwhile, the shop at 20 S. Raymond Ave., Pasadena, will be open 2-6 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 27 and 4-8 p.m. Friday, Dec. 28, its final day.

Conceived as “a traveler’s bookstore,” the shop grew to include maps, luggage, backpacks, clothing, travel agency services and other tools for travelers.


For many years in the 1990s and 2000s, Distant Lands was one of a handful of L.A.-area stalwarts specializing in travel books and maps. But as internet retailing gained momentum, those shops struggled.

With this announcement, all those retailers have closed their bricks-and-mortar locations, including California Map and Travel on Pico Boulevard in Santa Monica and Traveler’s Bookcase on West 3rd Street in Los Angeles, which closed in 2016 after more than 20 years.

“It’s a mixture of things” that have changed the business climate, said Ian Kalvinskas, Adrian Kalvinskas’ son, as he worked the register Thursday afternoon. Besides on-line retailers and rising rent, he cited changing American attitudes about international travel in the aftermath of 9/11.

In fact, he said, “We’ve always said that our best day as a store was Sept 10, 2001.”


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