Indie bookstores

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Michelle
Indie bookstores

 

Michelle

Please list some! Everyone needs alternatives to Crapters/Indiblows. [img]smile.gif" border="0[/img] Anywhere in the country is fine.

I'll start:
[url=http://www.womensbookstore.com/]Toronto Women's Bookstore[/url]
[url=http://www.rabble.ca/lounge/]rabble bookstore[/url]

Continue...

zak4amnesty

The Bookkeeper in Sarnia.

It is awesome. I worked there 6 years. Was manager, in line to buy, went crazy, and have never worked there again, altho I've tried to get hired back.

Susan Chamberlain is the owner. She has won a CBA award, and so has the store (while I was there!)

quelar

Uprising Books - the Anarchist Bookstore in Kensington. (uprising.ca doesn't seem to be working right now....Can't these Anarchists get organized??!!??)

[url=http://www.bakkaphoenixbooks.com/]Bakka (for Sci-fi and fantasy only, but they're still great) [/url]

Just a couple of my favourites.

N.Beltov N.Beltov's picture

[url=http://www.mcnallyrobinson.com/content.php?txtFileFileName=locations]McN... Robinson books [/url] has a number of locations in Winnipeg, Saskatoon, Calgary and New York City. They went "big box" even before Chapters came along to Winnipeg and did not go under as Mary Scorer books did.

Winnipeg once had a small, independent bookstore called Heaven and Art Book Cafe. Sadly, it is no more.

There are many second-hand bookstores in the city, far too many to mention.

Michelle

[url=http://bookcity.ca/locations/#bloorwest]I just got something from Book City.[/url]

Maysie Maysie's picture

In Toronto:

Pages (Queen St W)
Another Story (Roncesvalles)
This Ain't the Rosedale Library (Church St)
Toronto Women's Bookstore (Harbord St)
A Different Booklist (Bathurst St)
Book City (a few locations around the city)(it's a mini-chain, independently owned)

Maysie Maysie's picture

Ha! Cross postings, AND I clearly didn't read the OP properly. [img]redface.gif" border="0[/img]

Michelle

No worries! I'm glad I was right about Book City. I was pretty sure it wasn't a big chain. But there's one chain I've heard about that passes itself off as independent booksellers - I forget the name of it.

Maysie Maysie's picture

If you mean the evil BMV, then you are correct, they are a USian chain, They just (okay they've been there for about 6 months) opened the long-abandoned huge storefront on Bloor St. just east of Brunswick. I hiss in their general direction. Ssssssss!

N.Beltov N.Beltov's picture

What used to be a left/Communist bookstore is still a going concern in Vancouver. When I'm on the coast I always drop in and go for a walk up and down Commercial Drive afterwards. It's an interesting neighbourhood.

[url=http://www.peoplescoopbookstore.com/]People's Co-op Bookstore[/url]

N.R.KISSED

Also in Toronto

She said Boom -College E. of Bathurst and Roncesvales, south of Dundas

Pandemonium in the Junction

and Zoinks Bloor west of Dovercourt

jrose

My favourites are [url=http://www.octopusbooks.ca/]Octopus Books[/url] and Mother Tongue Books, both in Ottawa. Now that I'm near Toronto, [url=http://pagesbooks.ca/]Pages[/url] is my usual bookstore of choice. Great books, and great staff.

[ 18 June 2007: Message edited by: jrose ]

Caissa

Good to see Octopus is still around. I bought many books there in the mid-eighties when I was a grad student at Carleton. My favourite Indie bookstores are Tidewater Books in Sackville NB and the University Bookstore in Saint John whidch is about to open a second location on King Street in the heart of the Uptown.

jrose

quote:


Good to see Octopus is still around. I bought many books there in the mid-eighties when I was a grad student at Carleton.

That’s how I came across it as well. There is always a core group of professors who prefer to give their business to the independent sellers and have their students walk the short walk up to the Glebe to get them, instead of giving the business to the campus bookstore monopoly. After that, I just kept going to pick up books for class, and for pleasure reading. I know they also do a fair amount of book launches and readings in their tiny premise. It’s a small, unassuming building that I probably wouldn’t notice from the street, but ever since I knew it was there I could honestly spend hours inside.

CharlotteAshley

A plug for me and mine in Toronto:

[url=http://www.bobmillerbookroom.com]The Bob Miller Book Room[/url] - we've been around and privately owned for a little over thirty years now. We specialize in philosophy, social sciences, literature, classics and "things which seem neat". [img]wink.gif" border="0[/img]

Charlotte

jrose

The decline in Feminist bookstores in Canada is remarkably depressing, especially while searching for book-related events to add to rabble’s book lounge. [url=http://section15.ca/features/reviews/2007/07/23/feminist_bookstores/]This article [/url]cites only four left in existence, at least one of which has shut its doors.

Sven Sven's picture

quote:


Originally posted by jrose:
[b]The decline in Feminist bookstores in Canada is remarkably depressing, especially while searching for book-related events to add to rabble’s book lounge. [url=http://section15.ca/features/reviews/2007/07/23/feminist_bookstores/]This article [/url]cites only four left in existence, at least one of which has shut its doors.[/b]

It strikes me that the genesis of independent bookstores was based on two needs: (1) the creation of venues in which to find information not otherwise available and (2) the creation of spaces in which like-minded people could get together to share ideas and establish relationships based on a common interest.

With the advent of the Internet, sharing ideas and information no longer requires books. And, the Internet is less costly (rearranging electrons doesn’t cost nearly as much as processing trees for print), so more people can participate in information sharing (not just those few who can manage to get a book published).

And, for books that are published, it’s far more cost-effective to purchase them from independent publishers directly (rather than having to build/lease and operate/heat/light brick-n-mortar buildings).

The second goal can still be achieved (and is achieved)—without having the concern of keeping a business out of the red—through other activities. Meeting at a bookstore, per se, is not essential for that to occur.

As an aside, I have a hard time going to bookstores anymore (I particularly used to love to thumb through books in used bookstores). It used to be that going into a brick-n-mortar used bookstore was the [i]only way[/i] I could find good, used books. Now, I rely almost exclusively on abebooks.com (a world-wide network of about 30,000 booksellers, few of whom operate a walk-in store). If a book was published, it’s very likely available from an independent seller on that site (and usually available from many such sellers). I can usually select from scores of books under the same title and make a decision based on the books’ relative condition and price.

Maysie Maysie's picture

As delightful as your uninformed and consistently anti-independent-bookstore scribes are, Sven, you are incorrect about the role and importance they have played for the past several decades in Canada and the U.S. and still do play, for those who wish to engage in community. There is more to community than the internet, if one chooses. So you don't. Fine.

Independent and small bookstores have always been places for lesser known authors to develop an audience. Forgoing the lefty slant, they have been and are places for communities, and neighbourhood communities, to connect. Specialty bookstores have cultivated specific audiences, through in-person interactions (I know, I'm so 20th century). This is not at all the same as the internet, including sites like rabble.

As for purchasing, it depends. If you know exactly what title you want, then it may be cheaper to purchase directly from the publisher. However many small publishers charge shipping fees. Which if one is ordering all their books online one will be paying anyways.

If all you want is the cheapest, then you will get the world that you deserve. Walmart anyone?

[ 05 August 2008: Message edited by: bigcitygal ]

Sven Sven's picture

quote:


Originally posted by bigcitygal:
[b]Specialty bookstores have cultivated specific audiences, through in-person interactions (I know, I'm so 20th century). This is not at all the same as the internet, including sites like rabble.[/b]

quote:

Originally posted by bigcitygal:
[b] There is more to community than the internet, if one chooses. [/b]

I completely agree that in-person interaction is important—vital, actually. In fact, I think that Internet-only interaction, despite the doors of communication that it opens, can, ironically, be very isolating. The Internet is a useful tool but nothing creates human connections like interacting in person. My only quibble is that the independent bookstore is not uniquely and necessarily the best place for that to occur. But, that’s a matter of opinion and preference (and, given the decline of independent bookstores, that may be the opinion of more than just me).

quote:

Originally posted by bigcitygal:
[b]As for purchasing, it depends. If you know exactly what title you want, then it may be cheaper to purchase directly from the publisher.[/b]

That’s the downside of not going to a brick-n-mortar bookstore: It’s more difficult to simply browse and find something by chance. But, if you know what you want, finding the best price is easy on the ‘net. It’s definitely a trade-off.

quote:

Originally posted by bigcitygal:
[b]If all you want is the cheapest, then you will get the world that you deserve. Walmart anyone?[/b]

I don’t know about you, but I don’t have unlimited financial resources. So, I look for what I [i]want/need[/i] (first) and then try to find the [i]best price[/i] (second). I rarely look for what is simply the cheapest—particularly in books!

quote:

Originally posted by bigcitygal:
[b]...your uninformed and consistently anti-independent-bookstore scribes... [/b]

I’m not “anti” independent bookstores. I’m an independent bookstore agnostic. If people want them in enough numbers, then they will be there. If not, they won’t.

Maysie Maysie's picture

quote:


Sven: If people want them in enough numbers, then they will be there. If not, they won’t.

Spoken like a free marketeer.

You have no idea the illegal activities the big box stores in Canada and the U.S. have done in order to ensure that they will dominate the market. This is not a simple case of the theory of capitalism, which is flawed anyways.

Independent bookstores have declined because corporate bookstores use techniques such as loss leaders, unlimited and damaged returns, deeply discounted books that they actually lose money on, delayed payments to publishers to the tune of 6 months to a year, poorly paid non-unionized staff, many of the classic ways in which corporate owners run business to maximize profits. The problem with this model in this instance is that books (in Canada for sure, I'm less knowledgeable about the US) are hugely subsidized by government grants and funding: the markup on books is miniscule, compared to other retail such as clothing. This is not an industry that has huge profit margins, hence why Indiglo sells all those lifestyle products such as candles and yoga mats.

Michelle

Oh, bigcitygal, please. It's "Indiblow". [img]biggrin.gif" border="0[/img]

jrose

"Indiblow" and "Crapters," I might add. [img]wink.gif" border="0[/img]

Maysie Maysie's picture

Thanks to Michelle and JRo for their corrections. What was I [i]thinking?[/i] [img]smile.gif" border="0[/img]

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

The world's most inspiring bookstores

Quote:
W. Somerset Maugham called books "a refuge from almost all the miseries of life" -- and as fun as travel can be, being far from home can also be exhausting, hectic and fraught with flashes of sweet misery. For literate travelers, a good bookstore is a sanctuary.

What makes a bookstore beautiful? As their numbers dwindle in so many places, just having the doors open may qualify. Many of the shops in this slide show took over repurposed buildings whose previous tenants were once important local institutions like glove factories, theaters, friaries and grist mills. All of them are brimming over with beauty of one kind or another -- opulent architecture, quirky one-of-a-kind collections, unique ways of encouraging exploration, teetering stacks of mystery and chaos that reflect a community's reading habits. It's terrifying to consider that the generations alive today may be the last to experience the serendipity of scouring shelves of books side by side with other bibliophiles.

 

 

Sven Sven's picture

 

Catchfire wrote:

Quote:

What makes a bookstore beautiful? As their numbers dwindle in so many places, just having the doors open may qualify.

[SNIP]

It's terrifying to consider that the generations alive today may be the last to experience the serendipity of scouring shelves of books side by side with other bibliophiles.

Amazon announced a week or so ago that it now has more sales from e-books than from paper books.  Ms. Sven hated the idea of a Kindle...until I got her one.  That's all she uses now.

 

N.Beltov N.Beltov's picture

More about the predatory business practices of the corporate bookstores might be in order here. Especially after rather too many uninformed remarks upthread.

Big chains like Chapters will make arrangements to buy up ALL the copies of a popular book. Or damn near most of them. The big store will make the lion's share of the profits in selling such popular items. But here's the thing; these "buyers" of books are able to impose their own conditions on such a ''sale" ... even from small publishers. Think Loblaws. Such conditions might include the right to return the books, at ANY date in the future, at full refund, no questions asked. If sales don't go as well as "planned", then such small publishers wind up with a glut of difficult to sell books that they have to refund.

Chapters succeeded in putting some publishers out of business that way. "One capitalist always kills many", as Marx once wrote.

Anyway, the Loblaws-like predatory practices go much further than this one example. Books are part of the culture of a society and their significance can't be exhausted by reference to the latest iTurd.

Maysie Maysie's picture

Yo, N. I said most of that 3 years ago at post 20.

Tongue out

N.Beltov N.Beltov's picture

An Arc poetry magazine author (Barry Dempster I think) once wrote that "we all began in a little magazine" in making reference to the role of small publishers in the developing life of Canadian poets. I think maybe Canadian leftists "all began" in a little, independent bookstore. And that's reason enough for this leftist to support such stores.

Refuge Refuge's picture

Parent books
Seekers

Both in Toronto

Sean in Ottawa

N.Beltov wrote:

Chapters succeeded in putting some publishers out of business that way. "One capitalist always kills many", as Marx once wrote.

In my case it was the double whammy of Chapters deciding they would no longer return the phone calls of their smaller publishers and Canada Post.

Canada Post not only dropped the book rate and increased the cost of shipping books by some 1000% they also brought in a volume discount system that meant it would cost us twice as much to send a book to Chapters as it would for them to send a book to me. (Even though we dropped off our shipments and Chapters received many and we did not receive as many so the cost to ship from Chapters to me was actually higher.)

Shipping rates destroyed a huge number of publishers and arguably Chapters decision to bury the walking wounded was also in part because of shipping rates because we could not match the shipping costs of larger publishers.

During the same period the GST was imposed--not as big a deal as the shipping rate changes but it did not help. Also the granting agencies got more vicious on small publishers and more active in telling them what types of books they could publish (more fiction less nonfiction for one)

This country's approach to publishing stinks-- we would even give grants to publishers to make books and then remove their ability to bring them to market so nobody could read them. If that makes sense to you please explain. Of course with the smaller publishers there would be a lot less money wasted because they would get a lot less grants as well. It would be like having a small restaurant and having the government subsidize McDonalds to open up across the street and compete with you.

My company Voyageur Publishing went out of business 11 years ago. I am still pissed off like it's 1999. Ask me in another decade and I can tell you if I have cooled off or regained any respect for this country's approach to culture.

Sean in Ottawa

Btw Mother Tongue in Ottawa treated us wonderfully and as a former publisher I can tell you they supported us and help keep us alive long after we were really no longer viable. They are kind people there and truly support the writing and publishing community in Ottawa.

Other great bookstores that treated us well but eventually went away in Ottawa: Ottawa Women's bookstore; Books Canada; Food for Thought. I will never forget their kindness and support that I could always count on.

I too like Octopus as well.

Wilf Day

Apparently small-town (plus Ottawa, Waterloo, Halifax and Victoria) readers buy more books and/or listen to CBC radio more:

http://www.cbc.ca/books/2011/08/your-top-10-favourite-canadian-bookstores.html#more

Uxbridge, Sarnia, Halifax, Ottawa, Creemore, Port Hope, Almonte, Victoria, Dartmouth, Waterloo.