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Meet Jen Hitchcock of Book Show in Highland Park

Today we’d like to introduce you to Jen Hitchcock.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Jen. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
I opened Book Show after a long career in the music business (music publishing, film and television licensing). Our company had been sold and after about six months the new executives “cleaned house” as they always do (got rid of everyone.) I used my severance to open up a book shop and creative space that was a true representation of who I was, as I certainly wasn’t the person that spent years sitting behind a desk in an office. I have always loved books, both to read and collect as cultural artifacts and pieces of art. I looked at the resurgence of vinyl records and knew books were not going to die either. There is so much more to it. Books and book shops inspire communication and community. History has shown this over and over, and I just don’t think that magic will go away.

My vision was to create a shop space that preserved and championed books in their physical form. I am also a writer so I also wanted my shop to foster an environment that was conducive to creating and sharing ideas, words and art. Book Show has become what I think is a community, and is always growing. I think this kind of open and accessible space is very much needed, especially in this neighborhood where many of the old communal gathering spots for neighborhood artists, writers and other creative folks are disappearing in a sea of precious eateries and tiny succulent plant shops.

Has it been a smooth road?
The biggest struggle for me is staying true to my vision and at the same time being able to pay rent. I keep the book prices reasonable and most of my events are free. The classes and workshops are incredibly affordable, often just a five-dollar donation. I want to make sure this place is accessible to as many people in the community as possible. So, yeah, making enough to pay bills is a challenge I have faced since day one.

So, as you know, we’re impressed with Book Show – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
Book Show has a great selection of eclectic, weird vintage, used and new books, fanzines, gifts and oddities all staged as art pieces in an interactive retail environment. My shop also has a vast selection of local author, small press and DIY books and publications. I sell postcards, prints, buttons and artwork by almost exclusively local artists. All of it is staged as an interactive, unique browsing experience. A “book sideshow.” I don’t really have “sections” here… it is a poking around and exploring kind of book shop. The kind where you find just the book you needed, but were not necessarily looking for. Book Show also hosts a packed calendar of workshops, readings and small events.

The name Book Show stems from my lifelong interest in the historical carnival sideshow and roadside attractions. These attractions were created and built from the ground up by entrepreneurial, independent spirits. They drew people into worlds of natural and technological wonders and entertained with oddities and offbeat performances. Book Show captures this same spirit in its mission to spotlight the wonder of the physical book, an irreplaceable art form despite getting pushed to the fringes of our digital era.

Let’s touch on your thoughts about our city – what do you like the most and least?
Well, I am a huge Hollywood history buff…so I really love that I can go check out the sites of so much cool stuff any time I want. I also love meandering along Mulholland Drive at night. But in general, I have never been in a more diverse city where people are so beautifully open and dare I say… friendly? This has been my experience since arriving almost 28 years ago. I have found an amazing family of friends here. And also, a very vibrant music and literary scene. You may have to dig underground a bit and explore to find these things, but that is what makes this city so great. It is full of hidden treasures of all kinds.

I think what I like least about the city won’t come as a surprise. The traffic. I would like to be in my car less. I have lost friends to the West Side because I just can’t get myself to drive over there.

Contact Info:


Image Credit:
Judy Sissernos

Getting in touch: VoyageLA is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

2 Comments

  1. Lisbeth Coiman

    October 30, 2017 at 06:50

    I love this bookstore and Jen attentive and friendly service. I have listened to Lis Angeles’s best writers and poets here and cherish my memories of the moments i’ve Spent here.

  2. Elizabeth

    October 30, 2017 at 19:48

    Book Show is the jewel of Highland Park! I stop in here whenever I’m in the area shopping for tiny succulents. Jen is always good for an astute recommendation and is funny as hell. I’ve met some of the smartest/coolest people at events here!

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