Sadly, the iconic Samuel French bookstore in Hollywood will close on March 31. (See UPDATE at the end.) While the publisher, which has long one of the providers of plays, scripts, libretti and more for producers and performers in the area, is closing their storefront on Sunset Boulevard, their website will remain available for online orders, and their London store will remain open. The global business should be well in hand.
This is the latest casualty in the battle for IRL arts purveyors, and a sign of the ongoing battle for personal service and real expertise, even in the arts. This isn’t the first threat to Samuel French’s store in Hollywood, which has served the area from that location since 1947. There have been reports and rumors of trouble for the retail outlet for the past several years, prompting the closure of several other brick-and-mortar branches in the US and Canada. Customers’ persistent and growing preference for shopping online is the stated cause, and is an understandable, if unfortunate, part of the evolution of commerce in every field. The changes in the bookstore and sheet music industries have resulted in the closure of many beloved outlets in the last decade, including Hollywood Sheet Music and Old Town Music Company in Pasadena, which was purchased and moved in 2016.
Samuel French is making the best of the change, however, donating some of their inventory as part of the closure, and trying to make this even greater shift to online sales as smooth as possible. The company insists that their staff will continue to provide excellent service and customer support through their website. We wish the company all the best!
UPDATE: Sadly, Samuel French will not make it to March 31st. The store has been closed early due to vandalism and acts of intimidation against the staff. It will not reopen. Read more here