Samuel French Theatre & Film Bookshop Vandalized Ahead of Closing; Will Not Reopen
Following the announcement that Samuel French will close its bookstore on Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood, CA, it has been reported that the location has been the target of a serious act of vandalism and will not reopen its doors.
According to a statement on their website, the store was vandalized following an encounter with several unidentified individuals who attempted to intimidate one of the store employees on the premises. There is no indication whether the two events are related.
The statement on the store's website reads, "PLEASE BE ADVISED: The plan for our Los Angeles bookshop to close at the end of this month has changed. On the night of Monday, March 4, the store was broken into and seriously vandalized. And earlier that day, several men deliberately intimidated a beloved member of our staff on the premises. The police require us to close the store pending their investigation and with our staff's safety in mind, we are unable to reopen it."
The Sunset Boulevard bookstore has continuously experienced a significant decline in sales for over a decade as consumers move to online retailers-over 80% of Samuel French's retail sales are now made online. Before the rise of e-commerce, Samuel French had bookstores in NYC, London, Boston (Baker's Plays), Toronto, Hollywood and Studio City, CA. Samuel French opened its first California bookstore in downtown LA in 1929. They moved in 1947 to the Sunset Boulevard building where the Samuel French Film & Theatre Bookshop is currently located. The smaller Studio City bookshop located on Ventura Boulevard operated from 1986 to its closing in 2012.
Its extensive collection of iconic acting edition play scripts and musical libretti will continue to be available online through the Samuel French website. Samuel French's bookshop in London's Royal Court Theatre will remain open and celebrates its first anniversary in March.
"Although the community loves the store and its exceptional staff, most people are choosing to buy their books from e-retailers these days," said Samuel French President Nathan Collins. "It is an unfortunate situation, in which many other bookshops find themselves. However, the good news is that Samuel French continues to serve the world online with an unparalleled range of shows to license and scripts to purchase. This is supported by our expert staff in New York, London, and LA and their outstanding service to our customers. Additionally, we are excited to continue exploring new ways to support the playwriting community in the digital age."
Samuel French will be donating scripts and other materials from the closure to local libraries, theatres and educational institutions. "It's one small way for us to give back to the community," said Collins. "The book store has been a beloved landmark for decades and we are extremely grateful to our dedicated staff and loyal customers who have run and supported it for so many years."