Type Books on Queen Street West in Toronto has a new window display celebrating Corey Mintz’s book, How to Host a Dinner Party (House of Anansi Press). The display was designed by Type staffer Kalpna Patel.
Click on the thumbnails to see details.
According to the store’s website, the Front Street shop’s lease is up at the end of March, and will not be renewed.
While this is sad news for customers and the independent book-selling community, Hoare, who turns 70 this year, has revealed he will be retiring to his 350-acre property in Nova Scotia’s picturesque Annapolis Royal region, with plans to develop a vineyard and an 18,000-volume library.
On the website, Hoare thanks his customers:
It is, therefore, the occasion to acknowledge our gratitude to our loyal clientele for their support over many years. Since first we opened, in 1971, they have been a constant joy; and, given the frequently eclectic choices of our founder, have not only vindicated his cherished policy of less is more – hand-picked and preferably face-out – but have thoroughly endorsed a manicured, high-end tradition that has flouted competitive trends for decades.
In April 2012, Hoare closed its Ottawa location. The Westmount store, in Montreal, closed in December, six months after receiving a hand from the city’s mayor, who helped negotiate a temporary rent freeze with the bookseller’s landlord.
Less than two years after opening, Backbeat Books, Music & Gifts in Perth, Ontario, is up for sale. Due to undisclosed health reasons, John Pigeau, who owns the bookshop with his wife, Erin Daley, is hoping to find a buyer before the end of April, otherwise they will be forced to liquidate.
The shop sells new and used books, music, vintage merchandise, and gift items created by local artists. Record sales, in particular, are doing well. “The people who buy [the store] will have a niche market in Perth for vinyl junkies,” Pigeau says.
Backbeat has also gained a reputation for its First Edition Reading Series, which has brought a variety of authors to the Ottawa Valley, including Helen Humphreys, Roy MacSkimming, Tanis Rideout, Grace O’Connell, and bill bissett. Pigeau says Margaret Atwood is scheduled to read later this year.
“I will dearly miss our little shop,” says Pigeau. “I hope someone with a passion for books and music will come along and save it. Many good folks in Perth love it, as do many authors who have visited and read in the shop.”
In a press release, the retailer attributes the decline to the absence of any hit books and the growing switch to digital reading.
Indigo and Chapters superstores posted a 5.0 per cent decrease, while Coles and IndigoSpirit stores were down 5.2 per cent. Online sales were up 3.6 per cent.
Indigo still managed to generate higher gross profits compared to last year because of a “shift to higher margin gift and lifestyle products, lower sales discounts, fewer markdowns, and shipping more products through the Company’s distribution centres.”
In the press release, Indigo CEO Heather Reisman says, “We are pleased that our results reflect our efforts to dramatically improve margins and significantly expand our product mix in key categories and online to drive sales growth. We’ve made great strides during the quarter to accelerate our transformation while reinforcing our position as Canada’s preferred destination for gift giving.”
The Atlantic Canada literary community is mourning the loss of bookseller Rodney Jones, who died suddenly of heart failure on Monday at the age of 66.
Rodney was the owner of a pair of East Coast bookstores: the Bookmark in Charlottetown and the Bookmark II in Halifax. In an interview on CBC’s Island Morning, he’s credited with helping establish PEI’s publishing industry.
“To be a book publisher for a market that’s a quarter the size of Halifax requires an independent bookseller,” said Libby Oughton, the former publisher of Charlottetown’s Ragweed Press.
Jones opened the original Bookmark, described by PEI’s The Guardian as the “oldest independent bookstore in the Atlantic region,” in 1972. Bookmark II opened in Halifax in 1989.
“Rodney has been such a positive force in the book industry,” Acorn Press publisher Terrilee Bulger told the paper. “He surrounded himself with terrific staff and his two stores are beloved in their communities. It is rare to find booksellers who take such an interest in authors and publishers. The book world will miss him immensely.”
According to The Guardian, staff at both stores “will be working with [Jones'] daughters while they absorb their loss.”
Greenley’s Bookstore in downtown Belleville, Ontario, will close its doors for the last time this Saturday.
Citing “a combination of personal and economic reasons,” owner Tammy Grieve discussed the closure with The Belleville Intelligencer:
What makes me really sad is our customers that I will really miss. They are my family…. We know most families that come here.
Greenley’s opened more than 30 years ago under founder Bill Greenley. Grieve took over ownership in 2007 after Greenley retired. She announced the store’s closure in November.
The bookstore is known for its “Michael Ondaatje story,” in which the author came into the store and asked for a book recommendation. Greenley didn’t recognize the customer and handed over one of Ondaatje’s own novels.
When asked about the top LGBT books of the year, Canadian booksellers offered many thought-provoking choices.
Scott Dagostino, manager of Toronto’s Glad Day Bookshop, says, “I could go on and on about the great books we have in stock. And the great taste of our customers, who have rewarded these authors for their talent and risk-taking.”
Click the thumbnails below to read more about booksellers’ picks.
Q&Q contacted independent booksellers across Canada to get their picks for the top science fiction and fantasy titles of 2012.
Chris Szego, manager of Toronto’s BakkaPhoenix Books, says sci-fi and fantasy are becoming mainstream genres. She speculates the appeal is a byproduct of big-budget film franchises such as Harry Potter, Batman, and Lord of the Rings.
Over the past year, Walter Bruce Sinclair, co-owner of Vancouver’s White Dwarf Books, has observed the waning of Twilight-style fiction. “There has been a glut of paranormal romance and zombie novels, which have crowded out other genres,” he says. “This seems to be running its course, and we’re starting to see a resurgence of hard science fiction.”
Click on the thumbnails below to read more about the year’s biggest books.
Q&Q contacted booksellers across Canada to uncover the most popular crime and mystery titles of 2012.
Click on the thumbnails to discover the booksellers’ top titles.
Among Canadian booksellers contacted by Q&Q, there was a general consensus that 2012 was a conservative year for non-fiction.
David Worsley, co-owner of Words Worth Books in Waterloo, Ontario, observed: “The big titles are spread out across genres. But there has been lots of interest in biographies, especially rock ’n’ roll biographies.”
Mike Hamm, manager of Bookmark in Halifax, found his customers gravitating toward more austere non-fiction narratives. “This year featured strong sales for titles that were very contemplative and ultra-serious in tone,” he says.
Click on the thumbnails to view booksellers’ picks for the top non-fiction titles of 2012.