The Book Rack in La Quinta to close in September, owner hopes for buyer

The Book Rack in La Quinta to close in September, owner hopes for buyer

This summer marks the final chapter of The Book Rack in La Quinta.

Owner Holly Escobedo, 78, told The Desert Sun she won’t renew the lease for her Plaza La Quinta location. The liquidation will start on September 1st and doors will close on September 30th. The bookshelf is the last used bookstore left in Coachella Valley, with the exception of thrift stores like Angel View and Revivals Stores.

Linda Gray, who has worked at The Book Rack for 15 years, was almost in tears as she described her feelings about the shutdown.

“I was scared to death when I started working here because every client acted like they hated me,” Gray said. “I’m past that now and it’s just fun because I don’t just sell books, I give information on where to go out to eat or find things.”

The book section of The Book Rack is used by local authors in a book store in La Quinta, California, June 16, 2022.

Before becoming the owner of The Book Rack, Escobedo lived in Arcadia and was the quality control manager for a printing press. Its clients include Disney and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc. The store has printed posters of “Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope,” “Toy Story,” “Edward Scissorhands,” and more.

After Escobedo was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, a doctor asked her to look for a job where she could come and go as needed. She moved to La Quinta to be closer to her parents and opened The Book Rack in 1997, which has been in three separate storefronts in Plaza La Quinta and in its current location since 2018.

The store has 50,000 new and used titles. Many customers of The Book Rack buy the latest hardcover books from Costco, Target and Barnes and Noble, read them once and offer to trade. Many of the recent bestsellers are priced at $10 and are displayed at the front of the store.

Used a selection of children's books at The Book Rack bookstore in La Quinta, California, June 16, 2022.

Escobedo said clients travel to The Book Rack from as far away as Beaumont, the Morongo Valley, Yucca Valley and the desert hot springs. The residents in the store are mostly seniors, full-time and part-time mixed with tourists and homeschooled parents.

“The Coachella Valley is definitely a tourist destination and a second home,” Escobedo said. “(Customers) come here to dry their bones and they come here to get the books. At the end of the season when they come home, they buy tons of books and put them in the car and take them to Canada because books are more expensive there.”

Mystery and thriller novels are big sellers in the store, and despite the mutual success of bestselling authors such as James Patterson and Patricia Cornwell, The Book Rack organizes the section by gender.

“A lot of older men won’t read books written by female authors and will specifically say ‘I don’t want a female author,'” Escobedo said.

Tracy Blackburn works at the second-hand bookstore of The Book Rack in La Quinta, California, June 16, 2022.

During the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, bookstores were closed and retailers only offered curbside pickup. Escobedo reopened The Book Rack for four hours each day and sold books to customers at the door. Later she allowed customers to enter the store wearing masks and gloves.

Escobedo said she hopes the buyer will buy the store so she can work there part-time with Gray and Tracy Blackburn.

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