Norman Laurila and George Leigh opened A Different Light in Silver Lake in October 1979. The bookstore focused on gay and lesbian literature, hosted signings and readings from LGBTQ writers, and was a cultural & social hub for the community. A Different Light opened additional locations in Greenwich Village, the Castro, and West Hollywood. The Silver Lake location closed in 1992.
At its height, the chain was one of the most influential LGBT booksellers in the United States, serving as a cultural hub and social center for LGBT people.
Talks were underway to get the Tudor-style building (originally built to house and repair Red Car system trolleys) nominated as a city historic cultural monument, but a demolition permit was pulled by the building's owner Frost/Chaddock on the same day as the talks. The building was legally demolished on Saturday, September 24, 2011.