Midnight Special Bookstore

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Midnight Special Bookstore
Industry Retail
Genre focus on left-wing politics
Fate Dissolved
Founded Venice, California, United States (1970 (1970))
Defunct June 2, 2004 (2004-June-02)[1]
Headquarters Santa Monica, California, United States
Number of locations
Key people
Margie Ghiz, final owner[2]
Products book retailer
Website www.msbooks.com (defunct)

The Midnight Special Bookstore was an independent bookstore in southern California. It catered to a leftist clientele.[3][4] Its merchandise and events emphasized current events such as the civil rights movement, the Vietnam War,[5] the Israeli-Palestinian conflict,[6] the Chinese democracy movement[7] and U.S. intervention in Afghanistan and Iraq.[8]

Founded in 1970 as a co-op in Venice,[3] the shop "was run predominantly by volunteers" until around 1985.[5]

In 1980[5] it moved from Venice to 1350 Third Street [9] (also known as 1350 Santa Monica Mall[10]) in Santa Monica, then in 1992[5] moved again to 1318 Third Street Promenade.[11][12] For more than ten years, the mall's landlord charged the shop less rent than other tenants were paying,[13] but with a change in management and success in attracting upscale tenants, the mall operator asked for an increase that would "more than double"[2] the rent. For this reason, the bookstore moved out of its Third Street location in March 2003.[4] Its stock was kept in storage for eight months. In November 2003,[8][14][15] the store reopened at 1450 Second Street[16][17][18] in Santa Monica, then finally closed around June 2, 2004.[1] Its owner cited weak sales and continuing financial difficulties as the reason for closing:

Unfortunately, the delay was too great and our debts grew with the delays. Only local outlets of major chains can afford the losses that come with opening stores; even though our sales were steadily growing, it was not fast enough to keep us going until we could sustain ourselves.[1]

Authors who appeared at the shop:

Among other people who made appearances at the shop were filmmakers Robert Greenwald[21] and Oliver Stone,[5] actor David Warshofsky,[21] Elaine Brown of the Black Panther Party, UCLA professor Khaled Abou El Fadl; and musicians Dave Marsh, Jello Biafra, Frank Zappa[5] and Ray Manzarek.[24]



  1. ^ a b c "The Midnight Special Says Goodbye and Thank You". Web.archive.org. Retrieved 2013-01-28. 
  2. ^ a b "Midnight Special Bookstore going; but where? - Los Angeles Times". Articles.latimes.com. 2003-02-21. Retrieved 2013-01-28. 
  3. ^ a b "Last Chapter for an Iconic Bookstore - Los Angeles Times". Articles.latimes.com. 2004-05-09. Retrieved 2013-01-28. 
  4. ^ a b c Al Martinez (2003-03-07). "A poignant farewell to a radical refuge - Los Angeles Times". Articles.latimes.com. Retrieved 2013-01-28. 
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v "History of the Midnight Special Bookstore". Retrieved 20 January 2013. 
  6. ^ "Mideast Pact Adds Meaning to Tonight's 'Voices' Program - Los Angeles Times". Articles.latimes.com. 1994-09-10. Retrieved 2013-01-28. 
  7. ^ "Crisis in China Translates Into New Reader Interest - Los Angeles Times". Articles.latimes.com. 1989-06-08. Retrieved 2013-01-28. 
  8. ^ a b "Everlovin' Lights Are Back On at Midnight Special | Bookselling This Week". News.bookweb.org. Retrieved 2013-01-28. 
  9. ^ Jake Doherty (2007-09-03). "WESTLAKE : Pictures Worth a Thousand Vacuums". Articles.latimes.com. Retrieved 2013-01-28. 
  10. ^ "Novelists to Appear at Santa Monica Bookstore Sunday - Los Angeles Times". Articles.latimes.com. 1987-08-28. Retrieved 2013-01-28. 
  11. ^ "BRIEFLY : Politics: Speech on N. Ireland Conflict - Los Angeles Times". Articles.latimes.com. 1994-03-10. Retrieved 2013-01-28. 
  12. ^ http://losangeles.citysearch.com/profile/35905197/santa_monica_ca/midnight_special_bookstore.html
  13. ^ "Customers Rally Around the Store as Midnight Special Announces Upcoming Move | Bookselling This Week". News.bookweb.org. Retrieved 2013-01-28. 
  14. ^ "Santa_Monica_News_Midnight Special Bookstore Opens New Chapter". Surfsantamonica.com. Retrieved 2013-01-28. 
  15. ^ "Midnight Special Bookstore to Close Its Doors | Bookselling This Week". News.bookweb.org. Retrieved 2013-01-28. 
  16. ^ "Midnight Special Bookstore". Web.archive.org. 2004-06-29. Retrieved 2013-01-28. 
  17. ^ "Midnight Special Bookstore - Santa Monica, California - Yahoo! Travel". Travel.yahoo.com. Retrieved 2013-01-28. 
  18. ^ "Midnight Special Book Store in Santa Monica | Midnight Special Book Store (310) 393-2923 & 1450 2nd St, Santa Monica, CA 90401 | - Yahoo! US Local". Local.yahoo.com. Retrieved 2013-01-28. 
  19. ^ "Little press shines with star power - Los Angeles Times". Articles.latimes.com. 2004-03-03. Retrieved 2013-01-28. 
  20. ^ "Viggo Mortensen > Midnight Special Bookstore". Chucks888.freeservers.com. Retrieved 2013-01-28. 
  21. ^ a b c "Goodnight Midnight". Web.archive.org. Retrieved 2013-01-28. 
  22. ^ "Tavis Smiley to Sign, Discuss 'Hard Left' - Los Angeles Times". Articles.latimes.com. 1996-08-17. Retrieved 2013-01-28. 
  23. ^ "Horowitz to Discuss Life as a Reporter - Los Angeles Times". Articles.latimes.com. 2001-09-27. Retrieved 2013-01-28. 
  24. ^ "From The Vault weblog archives for July, 2011". Retrieved 2013-01-28.