I'm always a little surprised to see independent book sellers these days. I'd never been to Cliff's, although I've made trips to Vroman's Books right there on Colorado Blvd.
At the Los Angeles Times, "Pasadena's Cliff's Books closes up shop":
Bookstores thrived in the Playhouse district in the late 1990s. Vroman's, Super Crown, Borders, Barnes & Noble and four used book stores all made their home along a few blocks of Colorado. Today, only Vroman's, Barnes & Noble and one used book store remain.
Not only is it a tough market for booksellers, the Playhouse district has gentrified in the last decade, making it harder for quirky stores like Cliff's to compete with increasing numbers of big box stores. "Mom and pop stores are going out; you got franchise businesses coming in," said Don Cotten, manager at Angels School Supply, just a couple of doors down from Cliff's.