L.A. Newsstand Owner: Material Girl Still Tops

A year after Hershey Weisman’s family took ownership in 1976 of the massive World Book and News newsstand on the southeast corner of Hollywood and Cahuenga Blvds. (pictured), a certain aspiring singer moved to New York City and got a job waitressing at Dunkin’ Donuts. Thirty-four years later, says Weisman, she remains his best guarantee of brisk magazine sales.

Madonna will always and forever be a top seller,” Weisman tells FishbowlLA via email. “Put her on the cover of  Scientific American and I will sell more copies of that issue than I have sold in 30 years of Scientific American combined. No one even comes close to her ongoing appeal.”

Amazingly, Weisman’s expansive newsstand has been open 24 hours a day ever since his parents took it over from the family that had previously operated it since 1936. Its location in the heart of Johnny Grant’s old stomping ground has led to various brushes with celebrity.

“We do have a select number of “celebrity” regulars, but to us they are customers, not celebrities,” says Weisman. “There was the time Eddie Murphy’s car broke down and my dad drove him back to the Beverly Hills hotel he was staying at. If memory serves, it was around the time of Beverly Hills Cop II, because Eddie sent us VIP passes to see the screening later that same week.”

Although Weisman confirms that many glossy titles are going out of business because of the ongoing downturn in ad revenue, he says there always seem to be new magazines to take their place. Some of the most obscure publications carried by ‘California’s largest 24-hour newsstand’ can be found in a roomy indoor area, which leads to a final, obvious question. What are some of Weisman’s esoteric faves?

“I always loved Left-Handed, which was a magazine geared towards left-handed people,” he remembers. “The spine was on the opposite side which made browsing easier. It’s no longer in business.”

“There’s also Military Spouse, Nude and Natural for nudists and the adult title Over 50. Personally, I’m waiting for these three publications to combine for a collaborative issue – Nude and Natural Over 50 Military Spouse. That would be a big seller!”