A few weeks ago I wrote about our beloved local bookshop, The Book Mark, being forced to close. Every time I walk by the empty store, I feel SO sad! There aren’t many inviting bookstores left with character and warmth in Toronto and those we do have need our support.
If you are downtown, plan to spend some time at Nicholas Hoare Ltd., 75 Front Street East, or Ben McNally Books at 366 Bay Street.
Both shops offer a warm, welcoming atmosphere with beautiful wood floors and shelving reminiscent of an old library. Comfortable chairs invite customers to take some time considering their purchases and informed staff are only to happy to offer assistance. If they don’t have what you want, they’ll make certain they soon have it in the store. Another bonus, when you are ready to pay there aren’t 20 people in front of you. Have you lined up at our local big chain booksandeverythingelse store lately? Yikes!
Ben McNally also hosts fabulous Author Presentations with a brunch at the King Edward hotel on a regular basis. All the information is on their website and, seriously, you should add them to your calendar.
In spite of the convenience of shopping online 24/7, there is so much to be said for still having the opportunity to browse in a proper bookstore. Let’s all do our part in at least attempting to keep this option alive in the areas where we live. Libraries and bookstores are a vital link in encouraging the ongoing development of literacy in every demographic of our community. It’s so easy for kids, in particular, to be sidetracked by the digital world. If family members make certain that visits to these centres are part of children’s routines, we may have a chance at helping ensure these guardians of our literary culture don’t go the way of the dinosaur.
In a short burst of shameless self-promotion, I’ll just add that The Bridge Club is available at both of the above locations. *waving pompoms*
Do you find that you are doing most of your book-buying online? As a Kindle convert, I have to admit to that but I make a concerted effort to drop into indie bookstores on a regular basis too. It’s really a conflicting situation! Do you have a prediction as to how it’s all going to end?
For readers who are also writers, you’ll be doing yourself a favour dropping in on:
Our fearless blogging and social media leader,Kristen Lamb, who this week talks about how Writing Is More Than Writing
And for sheer entertainment value as well as a ton of excellent information, please continue to visit members of the blog roll down the side of this page. You’ll be glad you did!
Natalie Hartford says
You know, it’s amazing because I LOVE bookstores. I could spend days browsing, looking, getting ideas but since I received my Kindle, a year ago in February, I haven’t been to a bookstore. Sad. I think I’m one of those people who are contributing to the slow decline of bookstores…sniff…I’ll have to make it a point to visit and purchase books for non-Kindle converts as gifts! 🙂
You aren’t alone with this problem, my friend. We’re all struggling with it and I’m sure we’ll come up with some way to find a balance.
August McLaughlin says
Fantastic post on a hugely worthy subject, Patricia. Though I do most of my book shopping online, I also make efforts to support local vendors. A few new ones have opened in my neighborhood, partly due to Borders and B&N’s closing. Boutique shops seem to be thriving much more so than the biggies in the past few years…I foresee big success and popularity for them in the future. (And truly hope I’m psychic. ;))
Oh man, I hope you are psychic too! It wouldn’t surprise me – lol. It would be wonderful if these smaller shops could get a foothold again.
Emmie Mears says
I love bookstores. They feel like home to me.
Even though Borders was a HUGE chain, I felt pretty heartbroken when they were forced out of business last year. Any bookstore closing kills a little piece of my soul.
Yep, we all feel it!
Kate MacNicol says
Great post! Love seeing the bookstores in your hometown Patricia. The largest city close to my home is Fort Wayne and so far our Indie bookstores are going strong BUT I noticed our Barnes and Noble doesn’t have the selection it once did. Isn’t that sad?
I love to try to find a bookstore on every vacation.
I can see the beauty of my new Kindle but I hope I don’t ever see the day when bookstores are obsolete.
Kelly Hashway says
I have no bookstores in my area. It’s the saddest thing. We lost our Borders and then I started going into NJ to go to an independent bookstore, and now they are gone too. It’s awful.
That’s terrible, Kelly! I’m afraid there are many areas with the same problem.
Karen McFarland says
Oh Patricia, our world is ever changing. And it’s happening too darn fast! Those pics of local bookstores make me sigh. I don’t like it. It’s not normal. Yet I just got a Kindle, so I haven’t had a chance to compare. But I love browsing and sitting amongst the books. Something about it makes me feel cozy. Thanks for this post! 🙂
Thanks for stopping by. Going to a small bookshop is a feel-good experience, no doubt about it.
Angela Wallace says
I’m using my Kindle only for self-pubbed and indie ebooks. Anything trad pubbed, I’ll find at a library or local bookstore. I don’t think I’ve shopped in a B&N for years.
Angela, you are definitely doing your bit to help the situation. I would far rather see the big chains close.
Tameri Etherton says
Since your last post on the bookstore, I’ve tried to find one in North County and they have all closed. So sad, but San Diego has some really cute ones. I’m going to make it a monthly pilgrimage to visit them. If the boys want to come, great. If not, then it’s a special treat just for me. I adore bookstores and even though I shop at B&N out of convenience, I need to support the indies. Thanks Patricia for the motivation!
You. Are. A. Good. Woman.
Sheryl Browne says
I’m in the UK, Patricia, but with you all the way. Have shared. 🙂 x
Thanks Sheryl! It doesn’t matter where we are in the world. It’s a universal problem!
Jo Carroll says
We must use them or lose them. Marlborough has a great little bookshop – The White Horse Bookshop – it’s been here forever, and I’ve spent many happy hours hiding there.
You said it, Jo. You are fortunate to still have “a great little bookshop” nearby. Treasure it … and encourage your friends to do the same.
It’s a shame to see The Book Mark closed down. I’m pretty sure I’ve been in there when I’ve visited my cousin in Etobicoke.
The owner of the independent bookstore in Brockville where I live is keen when it comes to supporting local authors. I’ve supported them for years and will continue to do so.
Next time you are visiting your cousin in Etobicoke, let me know if you have time for a coffee!
I will do just that. Not sure when I’ll be in Toronto next but I’ll make time for coffee with you.
Crystal Jigsaw says
I do buy a lot of books online I’m afraid but that’s mainly because I live a long way from my nearest town. We have a lovely book store however, in a town about 45 minutes away and it sounds very much like the one you describe here. I’d much rather have a book in my hands than on my Kindle, but we do have to keep up. I only hope book stores don’t diminish because you’re absolutely right, we should be supporting them.
Thanks for stopping by, Kathryn. Somehow we have to try and find a balance!
Bridgette Booth (@Bridgette_Booth) says
Patricia, your post about one of the indie stores closing has stayed with me since I read it. I love indie bookstores and try as much as possible to support them. We have one lovely, lovely store in our medium size town which is sending out distress signals. A group of us are rallying around – making pledges and beating the drums – so I hope it weathers the current problems.
I don’t know WHAT the solution is. The convenience and availability of of internet shopping is impossible to deny, but the bookstore offers the tangible and personal touch. I’ve thought about it several times. I don’t know any answers, but I am so glad you raise awareness about such matters. I need these reminders!!!
Good luck trying to help your local bookstore and keep us posted on what happens. I’m afraid this problem is a sign of our times and the changing world of publishing.
… and I bet The Bridge Club looks absolutely stunning on those shelves….!!!!