Philadelphia Gayborhood’s LGBT Bookstore May Close

Giovanni's Room - Philadelphia - Apple Maps

from Apple Maps

THE NATION’S oldest LGBT bookstore may be facing its final chapter as its longtime owner plans to sell ahead of his retirement this winter.

Giovanni’s Room has served the city’s gay community from the corner of 12th and Pine streets since moving there in 1976 from its original location on South Street, where it opened three years prior. Ed Hermance, 73, has been the sole proprietor since taking over from his partners in 1986.

“From the very beginning, when people crossed that threshold, they were coming out to themselves,” said Hermance, nodding toward the store entrance. Giovanni’s Room – in reality, it’s several rooms, split over two floors – has seen a steady decline in revenue in recent years as online booksellers such as Amazon have grown in popularity. But Hermance maintains that Giovanni’s was always more than just a place to buy books.

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