Celebrating 10 years of
{pages} a Bookstore

Shelf life.

  • Category
  • Written by
    Darren Elms
  • Illustrated by
    Yuiko Sugino

Patty Gibson and Linda McLoughlin Figel became friends nearly three decades ago when they started a book club together. Patty had always wanted to open a bookstore, but it wasn’t until 2007 that she believed it was time to light the fire. Committed to friendship and a shared love of literature, Patty and Linda decided to pursue the dream together, with Linda’s daughters choosing the name for their store: {pages}.

“As you might expect from a couple of admitted bibliophiles embarking on a new adventure, we read everything about the ins and outs of opening a bookstore,” shares Linda. “At the time, rent in our hometown of Manhattan Beach—where we wanted to be—was prohibitive. Though the financials of a bookselling enterprise in a digital age are always fragile, we were very clear that we did not want an expensive hobby—the numbers had to work.”

After Margot Farris joined them as a third partner, the recession hit and rents dropped. By 2010, {pages} was in business.

As the only independent bookstore in the South Bay, {pages} takes seriously its role of bringing published thought leaders to the community. Over the years that list of distinguished guests has included James McBride, Colum McCann, Louis Zamperini, Chris Erskine, Ruth Reichl, Gail Honeyman and many more.

“It’s a virtuous cycle,” says Linda. “Authors love the energy of Manhattan Beach and the {pages} community and are often eager to return.”

Of all the authors she’s met and worked with, Linda says one stands out. “Father Greg Boyle, founder of Homeboy Industries and author of two of our all-time best sellers, Tattoos on the Heart and Barking to the Choir. He is such a wise, warm and entertaining speaker who has made a huge difference in our world by advocating for unconditional love and compassion.”

“We believe picking books is less about picking and more about matching the right book with its reader.”

Ten years after opening during one recession, the store faces new challenges with the COVID-19 pandemic. “The economics of operating an independent bookstore are incredibly challenging, even in the best of times,” says Linda. “Fortunately, we are part of a community that finds solace in books and puzzles and values the worth of local, independent businesses like ours. {pages} is very fortunate to have a team of phenomenal booksellers with our enthusiastic and talented general manager, Kristin Rasmussen, at the helm.” Throughout the shutdown, the store continued to process online orders and provide curbside pickup or free local delivery.

When asked if she could choose only one book, Linda demurs. “We believe picking books is less about picking and more about matching the right book with its reader. Nothing makes us happier than connecting readers with the books they were meant to have. It’s our never-ending quest. Ask me again tomorrow.”