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L.A. indies are tops on Twitter

October 25, 2009|Carolyn Kellogg

Throw another big shining coin in the overflowing treasure chest of evidence that Los Angeles is a highly literary city: It turns out that of the 10 most popular independent bookstores on Twitter, four are based in Los Angeles.

A recent check showed Skylight Books with 2,522 followers, Vroman's with 2,323, Book Soup with 2,293 and newcomer Metropolis Books in downtown Los Angeles with 1,900. (Yes, we know that by the time you read this, these numbers may have changed dramatically -- such are the vagaries of writing about an ever-evolving medium such as Twitter in print -- but you get the idea.)

We're not home to the biggest indie bookstore on the Twitter block, though. That place is claimed by Powell's, the independent, Portland, Ore.-based bookseller that went online early and in a big way. Powell's beyond-Portland online presence is reflected in its 10,302 followers. It's in a class by itself.

The second-most popular bookstore is Tattered Cover in Denver (3,633 followers), the only Denver bookstore on the list. Harvard Book Store in Cambridge, Mass., (3,266) is the only Boston-ish store. And Bookpeople in Austin, Texas, (2,051) is the lone representative for the Lone Star state. Two New York bookstores made the top 10 -- Word and Book Culture, together totaling only about 4,000.

So although the four L.A. bookstores in the top 10 combined had fewer than 10,000 followers, they still make an impressive bundle.

Interestingly enough, if you look into the entire top 20 list, more New York and Boston bookstores begin popping up -- as do stores in New Hampshire, Maryland, Minnesota and Vermont. Not so much Los Angeles -- it appears we have a handful of bookstores that have already established themselves as strong Twitter players.

Which means that next time you go to a reading, don't turn off your cellphone, as they always advise. Instead, turn off your ringer and feel free to Tweet, as long as you mention where you're at: @skylight books, @vromans, @metro polisbooks or @booksoup.

-- Carolyn Kellogg

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