With with great sadness that the Castro bids farewell to a longtime institution: A Different Light, one of the country's last LGBT bookstores.
Some observers blame online bookstores for the decline of the community shop. Internet shopping offers better prices and convenience than most physical stores can provide. In addition, more bookstores than ever now carry LGBT literature, reducing the need for an exclusive shop.
But there are some services that simply can't be recreated online. A Different Light has long been respected for its ability to draw together a community. The Castro store hosted countless book readings, meetings for grassroots organizations, and art shows over the years.
Fans of the store are also lamenting the loss of the knowledgeable sales staff, which always had a knack for keeping on top of the latest in LGBT publishing.
In its first incarnation, A Different Light was a shop in Silverlake in Los Angeles. It branched out to several other cities, but now they've all closed down. The Castro's store was believed to be the last LGBT bookstore in California, according to the Gate.
The Castro is currently struggling through a wave of closures and empty storefronts, so this latest closure is a heavy blow.
Several years ago, new management took over the store, and many in the community point to that change as the beginning of the end. Whatever the cause, Castro shoppers who like to read will now have to walk a few blocks down the street to Books Inc.