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Whither Gay Bookstores in Calif.?

Whither Gay Bookstores in Calif.?

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A Different Light bookstore in San Francisco's Castro neighborhood will close at the end of this month, but does its departure mean California will be without a gay bookstore?

An Associated Press article from Saturday stated that the Golden State will be gay bookstore-less once A Different Light shutters this month after decades of operation; the bookstore's West Hollywood branch closed in 2009. But gay-friendly bookstores remain in California, even if they're not considered gay bookstores, per se. For example, San Diego's Obelisk bookstore in the gay-centric Hillcrest neighborhood sells jewelry and comic books, as well as LGBT books and HRC merchandise. Circus of Books operates two Los Angeles-area locations -- one on West Hollywood's gay main drag, Santa Monica Boulevard, and another in the gay-friendly neighborhood of Silver Lake -- and both stores stock gay novels, magazines, and erotica.

The owner of the Circus of Book stores, Karen Mason, acknowledges her stores serve mainly LGBT customers but she doesn't see her operations as gay bookstores.

"I always admired A Different Light, they were much more pure than we were," Mason tells The Advocate. "At one point, they wouldn't carry a bestseller unless it had a gay character in it. If you wanted to know what was going on with gay literature, you were so well-served there."

Circus of Books won't be closing anytime soon, Mason says, but times have changed for all bookstores in the age of Kindle.

"We're still here and we don't have any plans to close," Mason says, "but we certainly have less staff and our sales are down."

Advocate Magazine - KehlaniAdvocate Magazine - Gus Kenworthy

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