What the LA Times’ Festival of Books represents as it goes digital

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Elisa Sifuentes, 16, and Kaitlyn Bin, 16, browse displays of books at the L.A. Times Festival of Books on the USC campus in 2018. This year’s festival is going all online. Photo by Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times.

The LA Times’ Festival of Books kicks off four weeks of panels, readings, and other events this Sunday, October 18. It’ll all be virtual. 

LA Times Books Editor Boris Kachka says, “In its democracy, in its outdoorsy-ness, and in its sheer scope, it [the festival] really shows you what LA can be at its best and its most communal. And that’s what it represents for me.” 

Does he worry more independent bookstores will close permanently? He says the trend line is complicated. “There was a period when Barnes and Noble began to dominate the scene, and then Amazon came in, and then Barnes and Noble became the underdog again. But right around the mid 2000s, I think independent bookstores started resurging. And there’s been a very robust presence in LA and elsewhere because they've been able to offer a unique experience to shoppers.”

Credits

Guest:
Boris Kachka - LA Times Books Editor

Host:
Steve Chiotakis

Producers:
Christian Bordal, Jenna Kagel