British Columbia

Independent booksellers ready to take on big bookstores

A group of independent BC publishers and booksellers are meeting in Vancouver this week to map out a strategy to survive in the world of 'big box bookstores'.

A group of independent BC publishers and booksellers are meeting in Vancouver this week to map out a strategy to survive in the world of 'big box bookstores'.

The Task Force on Small Presses in Canada first came together in January to discuss the economic threat of mega bookstores.

Chapters, Indigo and other large-scale bookstores can demand deep discounts from publishers because of the volume of books they sell.

The discounts enable them to offer consumers cheaper books than small, independent bookstores.

George Sipos, who runs Mosquito Books in Prince George, wrote a proposal outlining possible solutions to the problem.

"I'm hoping that by the time we finish here in Vancouver we'll have two or three specific projects ready to go for the fall," says Sipos.

One idea is to market and distribute collectively, while still maintaining the independence that makes each bookstore and publisher unique.

"The strength of this country is that we do all work in different communities and different regions as independents," says Sipos, "but that we do things collectively for the common good."

Writer and editor Rhea Tregebov says the meetings are an encouraging.

"Hearing how much they gave a damn was really a wonderful thing for me," she says.

The Vancouver meeting is only the second of many it will take for the group to map out its strategies.

Participants agree it's a case of 'united we stand, divided we fall'.