Tuesday, January 10, 2012 |
First aired on Metro Morning (10/1/12)
How do you sell physical books in a digital age? That's the question bookstores across the country are struggling to answer. Over the past few months, a string of independent bookstores have announced they are closing, including Toronto's Dragon Lady Comics, Winnipeg's Aqua Books and Ardea Books in Vancouver.
Jo Saul is the proprietor of the Toronto bookstore Type Books. with two locations, Type recently celebrated its sixth anniversary. As a bookstore owner herself, Saul finds the proliferation of closures saddening, and recognizes the challenges bookstores face today. "It's very difficult to have a bricks and mortar store when we are faced with tremendous, tremendous competition," Saul told Metro Morning host Matt Galloway.
However, Saul isn't deterred. "I think there's hope," she said. "We just have to work that much harder." Saul and her team do that by making the store and staff "indispensable to our communities." Saul sees the bookselling process as a communal one, between herself, staff and the community that frequents the store. "Our customers trust our staff," she said. "We buy according to what our customers want. It really is a group effort at Type."
Type, however, is also going above and beyond bookselling. The shop is pushing the boundaries of what it means to be a store and what stores can do to create buzz. Earlier this week, Type Books released a video on YouTube called "The Joy of Books." Created by art director Sean Ohlenkamp, who made the video "to celebrate his own love of books," this stop-animation film is a whimsical take on what happens in Type Books when all the patrons head home for the day.
"This video is a tribute, a love letter to books as objects," Saul says. "The door closes, the book seller goes home for the day and the party begins. The books get up and dance, they peek around the corner to make sure no one is looking and they have a really good time. It's magical, it's whimsical."
Don't take Saul's word for it. Check the video out for yourself below.
The video caused an internet sensation. "I didn't sleep a wink last night because I've been watching my Twitter feed," Saul admits. Check out the buzz below: