VAN Converted into Quaint MOBILE BOOKSTORE

Hi I’m Alexa and I’m Emery and this is Twenty Stories, LA’s mobile bookstore. We pop up six days a week around Los Angeles and
we curate 20 titles a month that rotate in the van. When we moved here two years ago to
LA it was a complete change of life from New York. We started driving more, realized that everything revolves around driving and we were really inspired by the food
trucks here. We were working jobs that were like completely unrelated to writing and kind of wanted to recenter refocus our lives around books and writing. I was working in
restaurants. I had been for a while. I was doing fundraising at LA Chamber
orchestra downtown. I learned a lot from that job that I feel like helps me in
this job. We shopped around Craigslist quite a bit. We found this one it just seemed
perfect like right when we saw it, we knew. Originally like a baby blue spray painted. We had to like scrub that down that took like probably the longest. This
is our van. It’s a 1987 Chevy G20. We got it on Craigslist for two thousand
dollars and had ninety nine thousand miles on it. These are our bookshelves right here we installed and we also got some solar panels up top so we can charge our phones and computers
while we work. So we have 300 watts of solar power, three panels and three
batteries inside. Also we did a whole new paint job. It was this really gnarly blue
spray-painted coat on it so we got that stripped down and repainted. So this is
the book store and it’s typical set up. Emery and I sit at this table
every day. We also take transactions with Square on our phones. We pick 20 titles
every month as a curated selection. Poetry, fiction, nonfiction and then at
the first of every month we switch it all out. The bookstore always has a new
selection if people were to visit us again and also we update all those titles on
our online store as well. Over here are the bookshelves. We just
installed these a few weeks ago. Previously we had a normal standing bookshelf like
one you would see in your home but we wanted more browsing space. This is more of our small gifts and books section. There are notebooks and our greeting
cards they’re from this really cute store in Highland Park called Shorthand so we
love their store. We’ve been in there multiple times before and so when we
open up the store we really wanted to carry their products. These are all
handmade there at their press, iron curtain press. Over here is more of
the bulk of our fiction poetry and nonfiction selection. Get In Trouble by
Kelly Link is right now my favorite book one of my favorite books I mean they’re
all my favorite books but this one in particular is a really great short story
collection. It’s a surrealist so it’s you know
scenarios where you think it could have been like you’re like this could be
our world and then the next moment you know you’re in like a house in the middle of the forest that has like these mythical powers. So it’s just like one of those
things that I really enjoy that where an author can just take you somewhere
unexpected, but another book is also this poetry this poetry book called Olio. I love
it because it’s pretty much an art book with poetry and the way it’s printed and
stylized is like I think something really amazing. So those are probably the
two I would point out but it’s always changing so next month
will be a whole new gig. And then up here are more of our I guess like stand out
titles like the ones we think people really will gravitate to. New releases as
well as then a little further we have our t-shirt, our tote bag, and then
our children’s books selection which we just added this month too because
everyone was asking us if we had kids books and we were like, “no, we don’t” so we added those. When we put the bookshelves on our sliding doors kind of cut off so we have to come around back over here open the van up to get our extra
inventory. Inside we have this faux wood paneling that we want to eventually get
redone remodel it and then also the carpet inside we want to tear that out
hopefully maybe put down some bamboo flooring or something a little nicer. We
have all of our bins that we’re using for storage right now. We’re hoping to
eventually kind of like build out and have a nicer storage, wooden shelves,
something that’s a little easier to kind of navigate instead of climbing in every
time and grabbing a book every time we sell one so. We’re about a month in now
just opened up so we’re working with what we have right now but we’re hoping
to put those upgrades in in the next few months or so. Under here’s where all of
our batteries are stored. They kind of fit in nice and snug against the
wheel and then they’re run up through this paneling into this guy here and
then over here is there a little kind of mini cooler. It’s got nothing in it right now. We hope to get a fridge in here so we can bring
a long lunch and keep some water cool. It gets really hot out here in LA. One of our goals is to have multiple vans
in the coming months and hopefully years and so each van would be unique. So we
were thinking for our second van instead of having the shelves on the side of the
van we would have a permanent roll up door that we would pull up and the books would always sit inside. So at the end of the day instead
of taking these off and putting them back in we would just be able to shut
that door. One of my favorite books we have on the van right now is Sing Unburied Sing by Jasmine Ward. It’s really unique in the way it’s told. It’s told in multiple perspectives so every chapter is kind of different, but it’s
the same story so you see both the mom and the sons viewpoints on the same
situation. It is taste, but it’s also like our taste aside so that something is there for everyone still. Yeah. So we have to do fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and it’s
more fiction heavy but we try to carry a balance of everything for each person.
We read all the titles ourselves so 10 between each of us and we can kind of
talk to you about what they like to read and they might like genre or they might like fantasy and more literary fiction so we kind of like navigate with them and suggest two or three titles we think will be best for them. I think that’s been my favorite part so
far is having those conversations and we met so many people we wouldn’t have met otherwise. We just get to have these conversations about what people like to
read and it just connects, a lot of time it connects, to like what’s happening in
people’s lives and then they talk about that and then it’s just this kind
of like, I don’t know, it’s like kind of magical in that way. Yeah and we get a lot of people who are like writers themselves and they’re like, “oh I
just I came out with a book from a small publisher, do you want to read
it?” and we’re like, “oh yeah of course send it to us” and then we’re like able
to read it and see if it’s something we want to carry on the van. And that’s
probably like one of the more exciting things too just connecting with the literary community in Los Angeles. There’s a lot of like anxiety and stress around taking the
making big changes in your life and we felt that and we still sometimes feel
that like you know like you know it’s scary like following your dreams. I think
that if you follow your gut you can’t go wrong. Go for it whether that takes like
you know a few months or longer or if it’s like next week like I think like do
it at your own pace like focus your life on what you want to do and then take the
time to do it. Thanks for watching this week’s episode.
I hope you enjoyed it. If you did be sure to LIKE comment and subscribe. And follow us on Facebook Twitter Instagram @twentystoriesLA and you can see our online shop at Have a great week, bye! just to keep

98 thoughts on “VAN Converted into Quaint MOBILE BOOKSTORE

  • Seeing Twenty Stories LA makes me wonder if more independent artists and startups will start vending out of vehicles. What are your thoughts?

  • This is awesome! I always thought that Vans are a good decision for artists for there versatility. Why not pop up shop in the street and then have a sleep 😂😂

  • This is wonderful! Low overhead, low risk business for a single person or as a couple. I love how creative people can be!

  • Awesome….. it’s amazing how sometimes it’s so easy to forget about paperback books a very healthy reminder…..thanks DM…..from Houston Texas

  • This dovetails nicely with the vid I just watched about possible future multipurpose vehicles (Toyota's 'E-palette'), but I like the re-use of the older van here too. Perhaps in future we'll be able to drop a replacement electrical drivetrain and communications package into cool older vehicles and your pop up bookstore could swap out it's shelves for seats and be an uber while you're sleeping. 🙂

  • Great way of creating business opportunities without having to pay rent just as a Food truck does. Gives them more time to focus on the aspects of better suggestions of what they have in the book store.

  • Where do you park? In the shade? What are good locations to park? I guess it's hard to sit allday long in the streets with sun and noise.

  • ExSTATIC about Twenty Stories Mobile Book Van! I'm in L.A. at the moment and I'm gonna search them out!(did I spy the City pf Pasadena's Colorado Drive playin' the part of "Back drop"? Well, anyway , as a trans plant myself from the East Coast- I agree that books are still needed in our lives! Do you ever have the Authors introduce their book/lead a discussion group? Really impressed with what you have started and I wish you Continued Success! Perhaps you 'll join "Meet-Ups" so you can promote your location easily too!

  • First off, awesome. Love the book wagon. Second, excellent music choices, you really tossed some unicorns into the mix this time.

  • They need a canopy for the side like a rv. That has got to be a tough market you know to sale printed books on the street. Good for them.

  • Love this! 💖 Considering a bookmobile with topics relating to alternative health care that we wouldn't see on the shelves.. successful protocols for health the allopathic/mainstream medicine system doesn't want competing with their business model, issues with vaccines and other drugs, etc.

  • Cute couple. Great idea. I wish them luck.
    Did you notice the subliminal message they were sending? They wanted us to "like" this video by saying "like" every other word. 😂 It like worked!

  • You could have a book shelf behind your sliding door, just like a secret door to the inside, opened by pulling on one of the books!! Well that would really satisfy my inner 7- year old…

  • Thank you for taking me to sunny L.A. -love the atmosphere of the video and this business idea is beautiful!

  • So awesome. It’s like the Universe is sending me a message. I recently mentioned to a fellow Tiny House friend (who is also an author) that my dream has always been to own a little bookstore but how bookstores don’t really have a chance anymore, now with Amazon out there, and Kindle and all that. Since I live in a Skoolie, she said to me “Why don’t you open a mobile bookstore”, which really hit a nerve. Then I’m in a local B&N shopping for Christmas and this book “The Bookshop on the Corner” basically finds me….it’s about a young woman opening a mobile bookstore out of a van….and now I come across this video. If that’s not God hitting me with bricks over the head, I don’t know what it is. 🤔😲 Thank you, Dylan, for always finding amazing people to introduce to us.

  • Thank you both for doing this, and thanks, Dylan, for sharing this story with us. Y'all are awesome.

    Maybe you could rig some sort of "ladder" bookshelves that hook in from the top and hang over the sides, but can be removed when you pack up. 🙂 Good luck and keep rollin!

  • I imagine you would have to have a permit to sell on the street even if you have a business license you still have to have permits to sell at the side of the street for most city codes and some cities don't allow it. I know one city that was really forward-thinking years ago was San Francisco they actually started a way for them to legally sell their where is as long as they got an inexpensive Street permit and had some kind of card or way to sell it was really cool because one day I bought gloves and scarf whatever I was freezing walking the streets of San Francisco

  • I guess it is a so much amazing experience!!!!! Speaking with sooooo many people.
    You are so right guys, follow your dreams
    In my channel exploring the south of Italy

  • This is so cool. Love what they are doing. Any chance you could tell me what song is playing at 1:39 in the video?

  • Wow truly a new way one of a kind . inspirational on so many levels. I see this going bigger. Great video.quick question say u do a bus conversion how do u go about making all that legal if u lived and travel in it at same time? This yr i want my bus conversion done an with the new yr some time would like to travel . still looking at working from road ideas. Thanks again great amazing video .

  • Question: What kind of permits do you need to set up sales on the street popup style? I suppose it depends on the city…

  • I love this! My daughter has a dream similar to this one. I love camping. Maybe we can combine the two one day. 😊

  • Love all the different ideas people have for their vans. I'm a filmmaker and building mine, definitely want to have some space for books too though!

  • seen one of those buses on twitch add. i am TOTALLY WANTING ONE!!! how do i start to prepare?!!!! email me or something idk what the best way is to reach u

  • here in the netherlands we actually have mobile library's, they are pretty much converted freight trucks turned into a library compleet with a check out desk and everything, they drive these past schools and nursing homes and such once or twice a week, that way even people and kids that don't have the means or funding to get to the library or bookstore can still find the magic of escaping to far away lands with dragon fights and pixies and what not, all with a book as their travel agent…

  • Why does this video have such low views?? Its an amazing video and they have an awesome concept going on here, this deserves a lot more attention!!

  • That was SUCH a BRILLIANT, and innovative idea!!! Well done!!! I would abbbbbsolutely LOVE to stop by to see you two and Twenty Stories!!!

  • That couple said LIKE so many time I'm giving this a thumbs down! People please learn how to speak! 👎👎👎👎

  • I love this… Bringing back old school into this new generation where everything is Ebooks and nothing is traditional anymore. I love hard copies.

  • I love your story! I wish I knew a little more about your business.please make another video and let us know how things are going. Do you guys resale previously owned books? Do you take donated books if they are in excellent condition? I hope to hear another update video soon.

  • I just found this and think your van bookstore is genius.
    Have you thought about selling coffee and teas plus having local artists sing or read poetry? Maybe a great animated children's book reader and pull your van up to a public park or beach. Maybe do this on certain days ( weather permitting of course) lol!
    I just think this is so important for the communities to get involved with their neighborhood and hopefully neighbors too in the process.
    I hope your having much success and since I live in Michigan. …I will hope to visit family soon in San Diego on my way to Phoenix AZ and maybe take a detour to buy some goodies for my long rv trip 😊
    Thank you for sharing your journey. I hope it's a successful one.
    Michelle 💖

  • I love this! It’s amazing to be out of the conventional brick and mortar business with high cost and risk, love the creativity!!! Wish you guys best of luck and make $ to love off and expand your brand!

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