Off of Soledad Canyon Rd and Whites Canyon Rd is a used and new bookstore called The Open Book where spoke with manager for seven years Diana Roach on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the pushback against giant booksellers like Amazon and more. How do you guys pick every single book that’s in here? What does that process look like?

Diana Roach: Good question. Because we have a lot, we have a warehouse in Simi Valley where they send us shipments. It’s full of millions of books and the owner gets them from everywhere he can get them, estate sales and storage auctions. On a smaller scale we do have a buyback program.

Have you seen any difference in the amount of books you’ve gotten since the pandemic? 

In general, we’ve been seeing a lot of newer titles, which is a testament on how they acquire their books. Lots of customers, due to being online during the pandemic, we saw lots of customers bringing in lots of books through the program.

What do you make of Amazon and its bookselling process? Do you see this store as a pushback that has been making waves against them?

Between independent bookstores and Amazon, kind of the big enemy so to speak. Because 20 years ago so many independent bookstores were going out of business, but there have been, I think I guess you could call it a pushback. People have been craving the brick and mortar physical bookstores like us and have been veering away from Amazon, it’s very convenient and it is still a huge place to buy books. We sell books on Amazon, but we do try to focus on our physical stores more and there’s another site called abe books, which is really great, so many used bookstores use that website, it’s a good competitor to Amazon.

As a manager currently seeing the effects of the pandemic, Diana Roach did not expect the effect that it was going to have.

The pandemic kind of forced us to be online more than ever. We already were, but we had to really really push, two years ago everyone was at home everyone was on Instagram and Facebook, so that brought in a lot of new customers and they were bringing in a lot of new books as well.

The push for support of small businesses shines through here and shows how as a community could come together and be able to help through their love of literacy. Inserting themselves in the world of books as a comfort to all of us in these trying times. The global pandemic has given us a chance to go back and relive our media that we loved as children. The importance of literacy through our younger generation having the capability to create their own opinions and thoughts and expressions. The book is an incredibly powerful tool and the option to have a used bookstore is capable of giving that opportunity to people who are not able to access books in a better way.

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