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So long, Pages

jrose
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Joined: Oct 24 2006

Sad news out of Toronto today. After 30 years, Pages book store is closing its doors.

http://torontoist.com/2009/07/last_page.php

It definitely doesn't come as a surprise, but regardless, it's sad. I've been to a number of events held by Pages (This is Not a Reading Series), so it's sad to see this store become another statistic of an independent bookstore unable to compete against the Indiblows of the world.

This might be a good thread to discuss independent bookstores in general. Among my favourites are Octopus Books (Ottawa) and Bryan Prince Bookseller (Hamilton).


Comments

Michelle
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Joined: May 10 2001

No way!  :(  I had no idea.

That's really sad.


Caissa
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Joined: Jun 14 2006

I loved shopping at Octopus when I lived in ottawa 85-87. It has certainly stood the test of time.


jrose
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Joined: Oct 24 2006

The only reason I saw it coming was because I've stumbled upon the Facebook group dedicated to saving it. It really is so sad. It was always my go-to for independent magazines while in Toronto.


Stargazer
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Joined: Jun 9 2004

I love that store! I can't believe it is closing. We're losing a great place.


jrose
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Joined: Oct 24 2006

From what I understand they're planning to keep their reading series running, which is at least a tiny bit of good news. The reading series sponsored Shameless Magazine's book launch a few weeks back, which was a wonderful event.

This really is too bad. One of my favourite things in the world to do is to spend an afternoon in a local bookstore, combing the shelves. The sad part is, more and more of these stores are disappearing. I always had positive experiences with the staff at Pages, chatting about books and magazines and local events. Sad to see it go.


Maysie
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Joined: Apr 21 2005

This is very sad news for Toronto and independent bookstores in general.

The only good news that I can glean is that since they aren't declaring bankruptcy that this is about how far out the current rents are based on their finances and their older, lower rent.

I have to quote this comment from the torontoist site:

Quote:
 This sucks. I used to go to this bookstore all the time to get ideas for things to download. The physical books were easier to browse than Google.

What.Ever.  And this one: 
Quote:
 I've thought about Pages' eventual demise every time I bought a book. I would check at Pages and then compare it to Chapters. It was nearly always significantly cheaper at Chapters (like a $30 book at Pages was $20 at Chapters). As a poor grad student who needs many books, I tried but couldn't force myself to spend the extra money to support this local bookstore. Of course it wasn't my book-buying that put them under, but I often wonder how many others couldn't afford the premium to support the local bookstore.
So, 15 years after the first Chatpers incursion into Canada, this is now the discourse.
No, doofus, it's not a premium to support a local bookstore. Crapters forces some prices artificially low due to horrendous business practices with their suppliers.
Soon there will be even fewer, and perhaps after than, no more independent bookstores? It's a devastating idea for ideas, writing and books in Canada.


jrose
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Joined: Oct 24 2006

These artifically low prices don't only affect independent bookstores, but independent publishing companies as well. I work in children's publishing and it's impossible to compete within the trade publishing industry when Indiblow is selling children's hardcovers for $3 each.


Maysie
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Joined: Apr 21 2005

I went downtown today, saw a matinee of the new Harry Potter movie at the former Paramount, and we decided to go to Pages after.

It was so sad there. Seeing Pages like this, it broke my heart.

Signs all over saying they're closing, and a sale of course, 10% off all books. Shelves nearly bare, since they sure aren't doing any more ordering. I wanted to say to the guy at the counter how sorry I am, but actually couldn't say it as I knew I would start crying.

Their small press section was unique, and they could have it because of their fabulous space. I don't know any other bookstore that has such a section.

The woman in front of me in line made a joke of "If you want to give me more than 10% off I won't object." It was all I could do to not lecture her on how the book business works, and refrain from strangling her.

So sad.


Wilf Day
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Joined: Oct 31 2002

jrose wrote:
This might be a good thread to discuss independent bookstores in general. Among my favourites are Octopus Books (Ottawa) and Bryan Prince Bookseller (Hamilton).

Not to be overlooked, one of the best: Furby House Books.

You could drop into the bookstore after coming to Estival on Saturday August 1st. A totally unique event not to be missed. Mike Yap is one of a kind, and we're so lucky to have him.


Catchfire
Online
Joined: Apr 16 2003

What a terrible thing. Hold on to your local independent bookstores, folks, and tell them that you love them. Because they are not long for this world.

Aside from the obvious lie that grad school books are cheaper at Chapters, etc. (did this poster even look at independent bookstores? What were they studying? A post-teenage hermeneutics in Stephanie Meyer and J.K. Rowling?), another pet peeve of mine is the 'poor graduate student' canard. Look: if you can command a $20K+ loan at the drop of a hat, guess what: not poor.

I've recently become enamoured with Bibliophile on Commercial Drive in Vancouver, my new home. But it's a second-hand bookstore which seems to be the only form in which independent bookstores can survive at all these days. Maybe if they added more floors to their building? I don't like to enter a bookstore unless it has at least four floors. That way I know I'm getting the best selection. Of wok sets and bamboo place mats.


NDPP
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Joined: Dec 28 2008

Their stuff was overpriced but they had things you couldn't get easily elsewhere. Another dead cultural canary in the Canadian coalmine.


Sky Captain
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Joined: Jul 14 2008

Catchfire wrote:
Aside from the obvious lie that grad school books are cheaper at Chapters, etc. (did this poster even look at independent bookstores? What were they studying? A post-teenage hermeneutics in Stephanie Meyer and J.K. Rowling?), another pet peeve of mine is the 'poor graduate student' canard. Look: if you can command a $20K+ loan at the drop of a hat, guess what: not poor.

s.

Sorry to rain on this pityfest, but Mr. Glassman has other places to move to in Toronto that are not as expensive as Queen & John (a few of which were mentioned by some commenters on the NOW site.) If he gets off his butt and looks for them, he can set up Pages there.

As for the poster's financial situtation: when you are in their shoes, you can speculate about how much a book is as much as you want-until then, please remember this little factoid; If you're going to talk shit, at least get your facts straight.

 


jrootham
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Joined: Jun 14 2001

Marc is a friend of mine, I ran into his brother scouting possible locations months ago.

Moving costs, it costs up front, it costs in losing customers, both in simple change and in new location draw.  Location matters to booksellers, the Bakka 2nd store they opened on Yonge north of Bloor went bust.  John Rose could keep one store going on Yonge St., the new owners have moved back to Queen St. (west of Bathurst).

Frankly, the transformation of Queen W over the last 30 years is not a socially desirable result.

 


Catchfire
Online
Joined: Apr 16 2003

Sky Captain wrote:
As for the poster's financial situtation: when you are in their shoes, you can speculate about how much a book is as much as you want-until then, please remember this little factoid; If you're going to talk shit, at least get your facts straight.

I'm sorry if I hit a nerve, SC. For the record, I am in their shoes. And I lobby extensively for lower tuition, to protect the eroding grant and funding infrastructure for the arts, and for the value of a humanities education in general. And I don't see how any of that is at odds with my previous post.

jrootham wrote:
Frankly, the transformation of Queen W over the last 30 years is not a socially desirable result.

Absolutely. I think this quote from Glassman on Pages' website is very telling:

Quote:
"When we opened on the corner of Queen and John 30 years ago, it was where artists lived and worked," says proprietor Marc Glassman, who heads up the Queen West Business Improvement Association. "Now our neighbours are CTV, The Gap, and Club Monaco."


Maysie
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Joined: Apr 21 2005

Thanks for your comments jrootham and Catchfire.

As a former bookseller I will share that monthly income is based on what is known in terms of sales and projected sales, and a new location would not have knowable/predictable cash flow/income levels for at least a year or two. Despite the facts of name-recognition and that some people would certainly follow Pages wherever it went.

In the past 3 years both Another Story and This Ain't the Rosedale Library moved from longstanding locations to new ones. But the difference is both of their moves were planned, scheduled, budgeted for (including of course some down time for packing, moving and unpacking). Bookstores have such tight finances that this would have had to be planned and researched meticulously beforehand, unless the rent was so much cheaper in the new locations, but still, it's costly. 

Pages has known about the rent increase for a while, and though I don't know Marc personally, I assume he did all the steps to look for new locations.

And Marc is right about the neighbourhood. Friends of mine say they now have no reason to go to that part of Queen Street any longer. 


Sky Captain
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Joined: Jul 14 2008

Maysie wrote:

Thanks for your comments jrootham and Catchfire.

As a former bookseller I will share that monthly income is based on what is known in terms of sales and projected sales, and a new location would not have knowable/predictable cash flow/income levels for at least a year or two. Despite the facts of name-recognition and that some people would certainly follow Pages wherever it went.

In the past 3 years both Another Story and This Ain't the Rosedale Library moved from longstanding locations to new ones. But the difference is both of their moves were planned, scheduled, budgeted for (including of course some down time for packing, moving and unpacking). Bookstores have such tight finances that this would have had to be planned and researched meticulously beforehand, unless the rent was so much cheaper in the new locations, but still, it's costly. 

Pages has known about the rent increase for a while, and though I don't know Marc personally, I assume he did all the steps to look for new locations.

And Marc is right about the neighbourhood. Friends of mine say they now have no reason to go to that part of Queen Street any longer. 

 

Thanks for the clarification and heads-up, Maysie; I thought that there was some hope for Pages. Now I know how dire things are, and I apologize again, this time abashdly.

For myself, I'll still be going to Queen & John, mostly to go to the movies at the Scotiabank Theater and also to get stuff at the Silver Snail, but I won't really enjoy it though, because of what's happening. As I said before someplace else, I wish that the recession could have destroyed the housing/building/rental industry, but that won't be happening, it seems, at least not in Toronto.

I will make an effort to go to Pages and pick up a book or a magazine sometime this Friday or Saturday, just as a tribute to them.


Maysie
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Joined: Apr 21 2005

Just to be clear, Pages is closing. They have not declared bankruptcy, like many other independent booksellers in Canada have done in the years since the Crapters encroachment. My guess is that Glassman simply assessed the financial viability of moving and it came up on the "not so much" side of the ledger. 

 


Weltschmerz
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Joined: Feb 7 2003

Wilf Day wrote:

Not to be overlooked, one of the best: Furby House Books.

I second that Wilf.  I've become quite the Port Hope fan over the past few years, and Furby House is always one of our stops when we're there.


Maysie
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Joined: Apr 21 2005

Just reactivating this because the day is drawing closer.

Frown


Lord Palmerston
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Joined: Jan 25 2004

It is a big loss.


Maysie
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Joined: Apr 21 2005

Quote:

AFTERWORD: A Celebration of 30 Years: To Mark the Closing of Pages Books and Magazines

For the past thirty years, Pages Books & Magazines has been a place where the culturally engaged citizens of Toronto met one another, conspired, fell in love, debated aesthetics and, occasionally, bought books. The Pages Art Window was the site of a landmark censorship case. And the shop helped Proprietor Marc Glassman and former staffer Shaun Smith co-create the popular literary event program, This Is Not A Reading Series (TINARS). Skyrocketing rent, not a drop in sales, has forced Glassman to close the celebrated bookstore at Queen and John streets on August 31.

To mark the occasion, many of the artists and thinkers whose work graced Pages' shelves over the past three decades will deliver short tributes to Glassman and his iconic indie institution, at "Afterword: A Celebration of 30 Years".

Come, raise a glass with such notable friends of Pages as Eldon Garnet, Greg Gatenby, Mark Kingwell, Barbara Klunder, Andy Paterson, Seth and Alana Wilcox - to name but a few. Canadian Comedy Award winners Monkey Toast will be perform improvised comedy based on your stories about Pages. The evening will be structured like a virtual tour of the store, and conclude where it all began thirty years ago: Glassman's office. -

A This Is Not A Reading Series event presented by Coach House Books, Spacing Magazine, Gladstone Hotel, NOW Magazine, and Take Five On CIUT.

Gladstone Hotel Ballroom, 1214 Queen St West, Toronto

Tues. Sept 8; 7:30 pm (Doors 7pm) Free.

Pages Books & Magazines / This Is Not A Reading Series

 


jrose
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Joined: Oct 24 2006

I'm not familiar with this one, but another independent bookstore closes its doors.

 

Vancouver's Duthie Books to shut down after 52 years


conrad yablonski
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Joined: Dec 27 2009

Long known as 'stuffy books' Duthies expanded to answer the perceived threat from Chapters, then contracted to one store then stagnated.

Questionable buying decisions such as tonnes of children's books in a neighbourhood with relatively few children, high prices when Book Warehouse a block away offered 20% off new bestsellers, whoever was steering the ship just had no clue.


Freedom 55
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Joined: Mar 14 2010

Caissa wrote:

I loved shopping at Octopus when I lived in ottawa 85-87. It has certainly stood the test of time.

 

Better than most people would have predicted...

Opening a book store in 2012?


onlinediscountanvils
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Joined: Jun 7 2012

Another sad loss... Mother Tongue Books, Ottawa's feminist bookstore, will be closing after 18 years.

Help us wind down the store

Quote:

We have been blessed to be able to support the ideals, dreams and struggles of others. It is deeply gratifying, and humbling to have been part of our customers’ lives. We have built up a very loyal community – we appreciate you more than you can know!

Still, there are many others who love the “idea” of small, neighbourhood bookshops, and other local businesses, but who no longer shop in them. The scales have tipped in the past 5 or 6 years. The “ideal” life of bookselling is outweighed by financial and emotional exhaustion. In short, we are tired! For us, this little shop no longer translates into a sustainable business model or a way to serve our community. We have other things we need and want to do!


onlinediscountanvils
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Joined: Jun 7 2012

It's not necessarily closing, but After Stonewall, Ottawa's queer bookstore is going up for sale.


onlinediscountanvils
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Joined: Jun 7 2012

Cry

End of an Era – Important Message to the TWB Community

Quote:
It is with a mix of sadness and resignation that I inform you all that The Toronto Women’s Bookstore (TWB) will be closing on Friday, November 30th.


Sven
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Joined: Jul 22 2005
This is just another indication that the paper book is dying a slow death.

Caissa
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Joined: Jun 14 2006

I have thousands of them in my house that are alive and well. Some I would like to give to a good home. They are all spayed and neutered. Wink 

Good to see you Sven.


Catchfire
Online
Joined: Apr 16 2003

Well, shit.


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