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Ottawa’s Collected Works seeks buyer by Christmas Eve

Collected Works, Ottawa’s largest independent bookstore, will close in January if a new owner isn’t found by Dec. 24.

Owner and manager Christopher Smith is selling the business for one dollar. In exchange, the new owner would take on all of the store’s current liabilities.

While this may sound like the premise of a Christmas story, Smith says in a statement he has no choice but to sell, as “sizable personal and community investments” have not helped the store meet its basic financial obligations.

Smith says Collected Works’ overhead costs increased after a major expansion over two years ago, but sales remained flat. Starting today, all merchandise is discounted in hopes of generating some cash flow.

“In good times, we might have been able to weather the situation, but major shifts are occurring in the book world (online retailing, big box stores, exchange rates, the rise of digital devices and content),” he says. “Add to that our constantly rising rent and the current economic environment, and we were left with no wiggle room.”

This has not been a kind year to Ottawa’s bookstores, with the closures of Mother Tongue Books and Nicholas Hoare. According to the Ottawa Citizen, Books on Beachwood is also scheduled to close in January.

 

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