It’s pretty easy to find to find a newspaper or magazine in Los Angeles. Stick your head in almost any supermarket, bookstore or local restaurant, and you’re likely to come out with some kind of print product. But where’s the fun in that?
There’s nothing like a newspaper stand or magazine store, where Hollywood trade papers, international newspapers, and art magazines with names like ToiletPaper and the home magazine Garden & Gun are displayed in six-foot-tall shelves in front of you.
Sadly, newsstands are becoming a rare breed. This summer, the Brentwood Newsstand on San Vicente rolled down its doors after about 30 years of serving the neighborhood. The newsstand on Santa Monica’s Third Street Promenade closed up shop. The newsstand on Van Nuys Boulevard in Sherman Oaks shuttered several years ago.
But there are still a few newspaper stands and magazines stores around the Westside and the Valley where Angelenos can get their print on. No store felt the closing of the Brentwood Newsstand like Robertson Magazines. The stand, located on Robertson and Pico, shared an owner with Brentwood Newsstand. “It is tough, but we’re making a go of it,” says Joe Manuel, who manages the Robertson stand.
Magazine distributions are down, and the LA Times doesn’t sell as well as it used to, although staples like the Sunday paper, Time and People still move off the shelves, Manuel says.
Some specialty magazines are notable sellers. “Car magazines do well here,” he says. “Music magazines do well here. Us Weekly, Star, In Touch do well.” Robertson also has a digital storefront through Amazon, Manuel explains. “We rely on online, so it’s kind of strange, in a way, when you look at it.”
Regardless of how strange it is, the Robertson online outlet offers some of the store’s most popular items. The 2019 Playboy calendar and Vogue‘s September issue, this year featuring Beyonce on the cover, are both big sellers, Manuel said. “There’s still a place for it,” Manuel said of the newsprint biz. “It’s just a smaller place.”
Sherman Oaks Newsstand on Ventura Boulevard also has an online presence called “Get it On the Go” for people who can’t make it to the newsstand. The 24-hour newsstand, open since 1949, is a popular tourist stop and says they offer world class service for newspaper and magazine purchases that reflect trends, cultures, Hollywood news, real people, real lives, current events and much more.
Al’s Newsstand on Beverly Drive in Beverly Hills has been offering newspapers and magazines to its for 26 years and is also planning to stay in place. Al’s Newsstand owner Allan Brooks has been selling newspapers in Los Angeles for more than 40 years—his first stand was across the street from Canter’s Deli—so he’s had plenty of time to observe the business and its decline.
Both the advent of the Internet and the 2008 recession have been contributing factors, Brooks says. “The magazine business has curtailed a lot of publication. They’ve gone online,” he shares. “Younger people today don’t buy newspapers.”
There has been a slight increase in traffic since Brentwood Newsstand closed, Brooks says, but he’s considering augmenting his offerings with some non-newsprint items. “There are things like cell phone accessories that could possibly be used,” he says. “Some tourist type memorabilia.”
Al’s Newsstand already has some cool collector’s items on the shelf. “I have some valuable old comics, Spider-Man and Superman and things like that, and late ’80s baseball cards that we sell by boxes and sets.”
Another store that stocks a mixture of magazines and memorabilia is the Kinokuniya Bookstore in Santa Monica. Tucked inside the Mitsuwa Marketplace on Centinela and Venice, the shop sells paper goods, including magazines.
“Most of them are in Japanese,” says Erika Kudo, who has been working at Kinokuniya since it opened in 2015. The store sells more art supplies and stationary than magazines, she said, but they still stock weekly magazines, lifestyle titles and Japanese comics in English.
Kinokuniya is also an official partner with Studio Ghibli, the studio behind the anime film “Spirited Away,” Kudo says. “We have specific stuff from Studio Ghibli, including DVDs and other items like art books, pencil boxes, Post-its and notepads.”
One recent big seller came from the Japanese fashion brand A Bathing Ape, which puts out a seasonal magazine, Kudo says. This year, the magazine came with a bag. “Many Japanese magazines come with a little gift,” she shares. “Many people buy them just to get the gift.”
According to Yelp, the top ten newsstands in the Los Angeles/San Fernando Valley area are:
Above the Fold-Fairfax, 226 N. Larchmont Blvd., L.A.
Al’s Newsstand, 216 S. Beverly Drive, Beverly Hills
Centerfold Newsstand, 716 N. Fairfax Ave., L.A.
Century World News, 10587 W. Pico Boulevard, West LA
Gateway Newsstand, 444 S. Flower St., L.A.
Laurel Canyon News, 12100 Ventura Blvd., Studio City
Robertson Magazines, 1414 S. Robertston Boulevard, L.A.
Sheltams, 6333 W. 3rd Street, L.A.
Sherman Oaks Newsstand, 14500 Ventura Blvd., Sherman Oaks
Sherwood Magazines, 745 N. La Cienega Blvd., L.A.