Book Alley began life as a small shop in an alley in Old Town Pasadena in 1992. In the years since we have moved twice and now occupy our largest space at 1252 E. Colorado Blvd. We believe in the written word and the power and importance of books. We think of ourselves as a general used book store with taste-- what you will find here are books of interest on all subjects at very reasonable prices. In addition to books we stock records, posters, photographs, ephemera—anything and everything of interest to people who also love books.
There’s something else we do for our community—we provide a home for books that otherwise might have nowhere to go. With fewer and fewer open shops, people who need to let go of books—whether because they are moving, downsizing or cleaning out the family home--find their options limited. We have often taken on collections that seemed like they had nowhere else to go.
As with most businesses, the spread of COVID-19 has done great damage to our ongoing operations. We continued to sell books online while we were shut down but there was no making up for the loss of in store sales. Now that we have reopened we have seen a return of some in store business but well below where we were before the pandemic. And, perversely, online sales have declined in recent weeks. Clearly this is due to the worsening economic situation faced by so many people—too long out of work and now facing the loss of their homes and apartments. Today our sales are about half of what they were pre-pandemic.
We have tried to earn our way out of this situation—we’ve been here every day, shipping books, processing our backlog of books, buying books and accepting donations of books and we want to keep doing these things as far into the future as we can. But we can’t keep doing it without an infusion of funds. Donations to Book Alley will be used to pay our back and future rent, to pay down debt, to acquire more books so that our inventory is always fresh and interesting, and to help our employees through this difficult time.
It has been our great pleasure to serve the readers of Pasadena for nearly thirty years and to help our neighbors when their libraries transition from being a delight to being a burden. We hope Book Alley will continue to do these things for decades to come and we thank you in advance for any assistance you can provide at this difficult time. And we look forward to celebrating our thirtieth anniversary with you next year in a post-pandemic world.