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Day 140: Vroman’s Bookstore

Surfing the Internet is nice, convenient, and there is certainly plethora of reading material and information available on almost any subject.  Still, to me, no electronic device offers the same pleasure as a beautifully bound book; and sometimes we simply need to get out and see, touch, experience the “non-virtual” world.

Vromans Bookstore in Pasadena

Much more than just a bookstore, Vromans on Colorado in Pasadena holds an important place in Southern California history.  It was originally founded on November 14, 1894 by Adam Clark Vroman, and was located at 60 E Colorado Street, a few blocks from its current location. Shortly after moving to California in 1856, he partnered with J.S. Glasscock and opened a book and photographic supply store.  A passionate photographer, Mr. Vroman specialized in scenes of the American West and portraits of Native Americans. Ansel Adams himself admitted that Vroman was an influence in his work. A classic bibliophile, Mr. Vroman had an extensive collection of books that he sold to open the store. Once the store became profitable, he returned to avid book collecting, donating his entire collection to the Pasadena Public Library when he passed away.

Today Vroman’s Bookstore continues to be an independently owned family business. It’s expanded its inventory to include unique gifts, fine writing instruments and stationery including cards and wedding invitations, in addition to an extensive selection of eco-friendly products, a newsstand and a cafe. Once the largest bookstore west of the Mississippi, it continues to be the largest independent bookstore in Southern California. Vroman’s was the first bookstore in the country to have a computerized inventory. They now have 3 locations, host over 300 events each year, support local charities through “Vromans Gives Back”, host a great blog and website and in 2008 won the prestigious Publishers Weekly’s Bookseller of the Year.

For a more intellectual, “mind-stimulating” experience, I often head to Vroman’s Bookstore.  I rarely go looking for anything in particular yet always I’m somehow drawn to a book I need to read. The staff is incredibly friendly, quick to help, very knowledgeable and ready with great suggestions.  I love to browse their diverse line of gifts that includes items ranging from fun to inspiring to elegant in every price range.  Time permitting, I’ll sip on a latte at their café and then enjoy an independent film at the neighboring art house, the Laemmle Theater.   It makes for a perfectly relaxing afternoon or evening.

Vroman’s Bookstore
695 E. Colorado Blvd
Pasadena, CA 91101
Tel: 626-449-5320


Vroman’s Fine Writing, Gifts, & Stationery

667 E. Colorado Blvd.
Pasadena, CA 91101

Vroman’s Hastings Ranch

3729 E Foothill Blvd
Pasadena, CA 91107

What’s your favorite bookstore Pasadena?

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