Worlds fill the walls of Brian Draper’s Burbank bookstore — global maps, a “histomap” offering a timeline of human events, a 4-foot high map of California. These worlds are about to come down.
After nearly 25 years, Draper is on the verge of closing Geographia Map & Travel Bookstore on Riverside Drive. The store carries pocket guides to Barcelona and Paris, travel literature, topographic maps, phrase books, money belts and even adaptors that allow travelers to juice up their smart phones at French chateaux.
But those smart phones are part of Draper’s problem. Just as Amazon.com and eBooks have undermined the brick-and-mortar book business, portable navigation systems, Google Maps and other apps have hurt the map trade.
“A lot of people wouldn’t have any use for a printed map,” Draper said. “There are just not enough customers to make it a thriving business. Times have just changed.”
Draper, 58, is a Burbank native who for many years worked at Don’s, his father’s restaurant on Glenoaks Boulevard, which changed hands years ago. He earned a geography degree from Cal State Northridge and opened his shop in 1986.