by Kirsti Granholm
In a world becoming increasingly saturated with large corporations and online businesses, it is hard to see why someone wouldn’t support a locally owned book store.
Yes, online retailers may have some great deals. But once we all turn to online options our independent book stores can no longer afford to operate. They will likely, never return. Then gone are the days of spending your Sundays browsing through carefully curated books. Going to the lovely evening gatherings held at your favourite book shop. And making connections amongst a tight-knit community of writers, readers, publishers and illustrators.
The literature community will change drastically once these book stores are gone. For many, this is a tragic loss. Veteran writers, illustrators and readers have made critical connections amongst each other — like a literary family.
Do you really want to see another mainstream coffee shop replace one of these historical independent local shops? That have years of history and passion behind the making? Probably not, I hope.
If saving historical sites and the bits of early Canadian culture don’t interest you, then how about we look at the economic side of things.
Supporting independent book stores also boosts the local economy. In Canada so many stores that are branded Canadian are still getting a majority of their inventory from the United States, one way or another. More funds going to local stores means lower costs of production, which in turn means these independent book stores could actually get cheaper over time. So please, continue to support local shops, especially bookstores; to keep the love of reading alive for the future generations to come.
Another reason to support your local book store is the culture behind it. Book stores offer an experience; booksellers are not your average customer service representative. Booksellers are actually a reader’s best friend and can set you up with some superb reads if you take the time to visit them and let them know what your interests are! Along with that, book stores bring book clubs, and other unique events for both children and adults.
There are so many delightful qualities about independent book stores. Regardless of who you are, there is always something for everyone. Whether you’re walking past their wonderful window displays or going in to browse their selection, these stores never fail to add a touch of charm to your neighbourhood.
How Can I Support Independent Book Stores?
You may be wondering how you can support your local book store, if you don’t already. The quickest thing you can do as a consumer is visit and make a purchase. But there are a variety of other fun ways to support your local shops. You can attend the events they host, such as a book launch or a meet-and-greet. You can utilize your social media to share your experience at your favourite local book shop. Or you can even contribute by writing them a positive review online! Support from the local communities is always deeply appreciated by your local independent book stores and from all of us who work in the Canadian literature industry.
Take some time out of your day to visit one of these lovely independent book stores across Canada:
- Downtown Comics (St. John’s)
- Elaine’s Books (St. John’s)
Prince Edward Island
- Bookmark (Charlottetown)
- Bookman (Charlottetown)
- The Odd Book (Wolfville)
- Woozles (Halifax)
- Tattletales (Dartmouth)
- Tidewater Books (Sackville)
- Westminster Books (Fredericton)
- Drawn & Quarterly (Montréal)
- La Maison Anglaise (Québec City)
- Librairie Pantoute (Québec City)
- Livres Babar Books (Pointe-Claire)
- Mabel’s Fables (Toronto)
- Gryphons Books (Port Hope)
- Ella Minnow (Toronto)
- Type Books (Toronto)
- Manticore Books (Orillia)
- Bison Books (Winnipeg)
- McNally Robinson (Winnipeg)
- Poor Michaels Emporium (Onanole)
- Whodunit – New and Used Mystery Bookstore (Winnipeg)
- McNally Robinson (Saskatoon)
- Centennial Books (Regina)
- Café Books (Canmore)
- Owl’s Nest (Calgary)
- Audreys Books (Edmonton)
- Munroe’s Books (Victoria)
- Polar Peek Books (Fernie)
- Talewind Books (Sechelt)
- Kidsbooks (Vancouver)
- The Yellowknife Book Cellar (Yellowknife)
- Mac’s Fireweed Books, (Whitehorse)
- Well-Read Books (Whitehorse)
– There are no independent bookstores in Nunavut.
– Many of these stores are not solely children’s book stores, but they boast an impressive range of Canadian children’s books.