Bookstore closures have been in the news a lot recently. Three long-running Toronto institutions — Book City, World's Biggest Bookstore and The Cookbook Store — are closing up shop this spring. In January, Winnipeg's anarchist icon Mondragon shut its doors. And yesterday the New York Times lamented the way that New York, despite its storied literary reputation, was becoming a "bookstore desert," with a raft of recent closures. The pressures facing brick-and-mortar booksellers, both chain and independent, are no secret: competition from online sellers, and the rise of eBooks, which continue to gobble up more and more readers each year. But all is not lost. Canada still has its fair share of beloved local literary institutions that are alive and kicking — and we at Strombo.com thought now, amid this doom and gloom, would be a great time to show them a little love. In the gallery above, 10 beloved local bookstores from across this great nation.
And beyond our borders, of course, many of the world's great places to encounter new books and authors are still going strong. There's San Francisco's famed City Lights, which was founded in 1953 and became notorious a couple of years later when the store's manager and a co-owner were charged with obscenity for publishing and selling Allen Ginsberg's Howl and other Poems. And there's Paris's ramshackle Shakespeare and Company, just a block away from Notre Dame cathedral and now run by the founder's daughter. And if you find yourself in Buenos Aires, stop by the glorious El Ateneo, which was built as a theatre in 1919 before becoming a movie theatre and eventually a bookshop.
P.S.: We couldn't possibly cover every great bookstore across Canada in one little post, so if you've got other favourites, let us know in the comments!
After we posted this story last night, we got a flood of responses from people endorsing their favourite indie bookstores across Canada. There are some in the comments below (keep 'em coming!) and more on Facebook and Twitter. Here are some of the tweets:
And here are some comments from Facebook:
Stef Smalls: Sarnia Ontario's favourite is The Book Keeper
Maggie O'Scalleigh: Whoops! You forgot Salt Spring Books!
Emily Blades: Don't forget The Bookshelf in Guelph, Ontario!
Mia Graham: The Book Man in Chilliwack, BC is awesome!
Laura Pj: Galiano Island Books =awesome. and amazing staff!
Mary Hood Lemieux: The Bookshelf (great book store) in Guelph also has a wonderful independent cinema !
Sheila Hillier: H.P. Tergesen & Sons in Gimli, Manitoba
Melanie Power Antweiler: I'd also nominate Toronto's Type Books. We lived in TO for six (too-short) months when our eldest son was a toddler, and Type's weekly story time with Mrs Hannah was a cornerstone of our schedule!
Jenny L. Wallace: The Village Bookshop in Bayfield, ON
Karen Willsey Bass: Owl's Nest Books and owlets & Pages Kensington in Calgary.
Sam Crowell Brannen: The Whirligig Bookshop in Shelburne, Nova Scotia!
Sandra Miller: Attic Books & Oxford Book Shop in #LndOnt
Kim Donald-Haverty: don't forget Prairie Sky Books here in Winnipeg
Lorna McLachlan Catrambone: Forster's Book Garden in Bolton ON
Stephanie Ann Brown: Allison the book man, north bay on!
Erica Bobyk: Ed's Books & Things on Charlotte Street in Sydney, Nova Scotia!!
Denise Robinson Fashina: Booklore in Orangeville, Orangeville Ontario
Sarah Shipley: The Bookshop in Penticton, BC!
Natalina Conner: Library du soleil in Ottawa #french
Jill Morris: Audrey's in Edmonton is great, but I love the Wee Book Inn... so many awesome used books, for great prices. Me, and a full wallet in that store is dangerous.
Tess Healy: Books and Co. in Prince George is amazing and the ads Jim does up are epic.! Books and Company
Kristen Meyer-Creamer: Books and Co. in Picton!!! Beautiful spot!!!
Irene Becker: Wordsworth Books in Waterloo ON.
Lisa Diessel: A Different Booklist, 746 Bathurst, just south of Honest Ed's in Toronto.
Tiffany Conrad: Schooner Books Ltd. in Halifax
Kathleen Kamaras: Doug Miller Books 663 Bloor St. West and Mabel's Fables 662 Mount Pleasant Road.
Kate Gaughan: P.T. Campbell's in London Ontario. But in all honesty, I never met a bookstore I didn't like.
Jen Millar: Volume One Bookstore - Downtown Duncan, BC!