Diesel bookseller Lynn Aime makes a sale next to a sign asking customers to contribute to the shop's GoFundMe. <span class="copyright">(Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)</span>
Diesel bookseller Lynn Aime makes a sale next to a sign asking customers to contribute to the shop’s GoFundMe. (Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)

Next to a bottle of hand sanitizer, on a table at an entrance to Brentwood’s Diesel bookstore, is a message to customers describing an existential crisis induced by a pandemic. It says, in essence: We need your help.

“We have tried to weather this storm, with creative reinvention, hard work, and perseverance, as we always have,” reads the note from Diesel owners Alison Reid and John Evans. “We’ve managed to keep our booksellers afloat financially and with the necessary health care. But at this point, our stores are foundering.

“… So we are asking for your support to restore us to a sustainable level, to make it through this taxing time… We have resisted this appeal to our wider community, but now we are running

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