Aldine Books: The James Tatum Story

July 8, 2021
The rapid growth of eCommerce and digital technology has shifted the way that countless industries operate. This is no exception for the book industry, as much of today’s book sales are switching to an online marketplace. To learn about how one man’s passion to keep his bookstore alive has made an impact on the community in more ways than one, read on to meet James Tatum.
Meet The Man Behind Aldine Books
Ever since inheriting Adline Books from a man over three decades ago, James Tatum and his partner Ira have been in charge of owning the store and running its operations. Despite holding a number of jobs throughout his life, James notes that owning Aldine Books is one that he truly loves and enjoys the most. Reading and watching television, the two self-professed loves of his life, have become everyday staples in his days while working long hours at the store.
James Brings A Passion For Reading To His Business

James Tatum is absolutely in the right profession as a bookseller, as his passion for books and reading is evident throughout his years of owning and operating Aldine Books. While James might joke that his love for reading comes from having no choice as a bookstore owner, the way that his face lights up each time he talks about what books mean to him truly says it all.


There is no doubt that James is a voracious reader, as he states that it’s hard for him to keep track of all of the books he’s read over the years. No matter how hard to read or bad a book might be to him, James is always committed to entirely finishing them cover to cover.

What Types of Books Impact James?
With hundreds of books and genres surrounding James on a daily basis at Aldine Books, he finds that the books that he gravitates to the most are ones that make him laugh. He also discusses the enjoyment from books that give him a story or perspective entirely new and different from what he already knows about the world.

But James also uses books for so much more than just entertainment. He notes that when the times get tough, James picks up a book as a means of coping and remaining at peace with the world. This is one of the many reasons why James cannot picture himself anywhere else but at Aldine.

The Impact Of The Book Market’s Digital Shift
In more recent years, the shift to online book sales has had a huge impact on Aldine Books and other indie bookshops. James remembers living through the era when the massive book chain Borders and other bookstores started closing across the nation.
Declining Foot Traffic Hasn’t Stopped James Tatum

In the face of these major book industry changes, James Tatum hasn’t let his decreased foot traffic stop him from continuing the legacy of Aldine Books. To keep his business thriving despite these inevitable shifts, Tatum opened up his store to an online marketplace. While he has no plans to close his doors and switch to an entirely online platform, it has become an invaluable way for him to make more sales and keep his doors open.


Nowadays, around 85% of James’ sales are conducted online. James notes that while he was initially nervous from the hundreds of bookstores shutting down around him, he remains worry-free and keeps his peace of mind if he’s able to ship at least a handful of online books each day.

Keeping The Spirit Of Bookstores Alive

By continuing to sell many of his books in person as countless bookstores are switching their operations to a 100% online capacity, James is delivering a great service to his community of bookworms. The joy of sifting through shelves and physically holding books before purchasing one has become a simple pleasure for Aldine’s foot traffic.


Despite the decrease in his in-person clientele, the small yet might impact that James continues to make on his individual customers cannot be ignored. James notes that although he notices fewer customers entering the shop, the ones that do are grateful and thank him for keeping his doors open. James states that many of his customers prefer the brick-and-mortar bookstore experience and doesn’t see why he shouldn’t give them that service and pleasure.

Why Is Aldine Books Important To James?
Aldine Books is a staple in the Los Angeles community and feels just like home for James after the 30 years of owning the store. James is forever linked to the magic of the bookstore. He truly cannot see himself doing anything else with his life but continuing to read and sell books at Aldine.
James Tatum: An Inspiration To The Book Industry
We can all learn from the simple and dedicated way that James Tatum lives his life. While the book landscape might be changing online, entering Aldine Books feels like walking back through time to a simpler day. The quiet passion and commitment that James Tatum has for his livelihood is an inspiration for anyone trying to save today’s declining brick-and-mortar book market.


Business Info

Aldine Books


Aldine Books, 667 N Heliotrope Dr, Los Angeles, CA 90004
Katie Lemon
Cristian Coldea
Marko Birlea
Produced by
COLDEA Productions, LLC

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