Another bookstore has died.
Long Beach residents and many customers far beyond the city’s limits are mourning the loss of an old friend, one that has been around more than seventy-four years.
The deceased is Acres of Books, founded by Bertrand Smith in 1934. The giant bookstore was aptly named. Before the arrival of massive chains such as Borders and Barnes & Noble, Acres of Books was a one of the largest book emporiums anywhere. It once boasted more than a million volumes.
In this era of trendy stores that offers coffee, pastries, other edibles and drinkables, along with spacious reading sections, Acres of Books may have signed its own death warrant. The huge, stuffy building had no air conditioning, no computer filing system, no place to sit, and no Starbucks on the premise.
How could it compete?
The Smith family business simply offered stack upon cluttered stacks of books. Not genteel enough for today’s fancy readers.
As with most independents, Acres was no match for the online booksellers with their fast delivery and downloadable books. Long Beach redevelopment provided a way out for the family.
Owners Phil and Jackie Smith sold the building to the city for $2.8 million. They plan to retire and travel, the Los Angeles Times reported Sunday.
The Smiths said nothing about reading.