Books for Business
Business books may not make the sexiest titles but the publishers sure try. You gotta know that it's going to be tough for any beer swilling Canadian to resist leafing through a book called Why Mexicans Don't Drink Molson. Or how can a budding entrepreneur with a green conscience even contemplate not buying 75 Green Businesses You Can Start To Make Money and Make a Difference.
Sure, business books might have been avoided like the plague by your favourite English prof., but there's definitely something to be said for someone - be it Amazon, Fast Company or your local B-School - who's able to filter the good from the boring and the bad, and provide all the sound bites you'll need for the next speaking gig, job interview or power lunch.
Enter stage left Books for Business - a bookstore in the Financial District that knows business books almost better than anyone. The store, located at 120 Adelaide Street West, across the hall from Hy's Steakhouse, has been an authority on business books since they opened way back in January, 1991.
What I like best about Books for Business is not necessarily their selection. You can likely find most of the same books somewhere online or at your local Chapters. What works here is how well everything is curated. The latest, most interesting business books are prominently displayed and the staff is as knowledgeable as you're going to find. Books are also arranged into specific categories, so there's no chance a marketing book will get cooties from an accounting one.
But there's a lot more to learn about Books for Business so I contacted Jane Cooney, President of the bookstore. Read my Q&A with her below:
Who is your typical customer? Would most of your sales go to those who work on Bay Street?
We serve people around the world through our email, web and phone service, though our walk in traffic is primarily local business people and visitors to the many hotels in the downtown core. These range from individual professionals, public servants, corporate executives, lawyers, business students, home business types and anyone who needs information on managing people, money, or organizations.
Are there certain types of books that sell better than others?
Our best selling sections are management and all its aspects, finance and investments (because of our proximity to the stock exchange and the brokerage firms), and human resource management.
What are some books you're recommending right now?
We like "Yes! 50 Scientifically Proven Ways to Be Persuasive, by Robert B. Cialdini and
others; "The Five Most Important Questions You Will Ever Ask About Your Organization" by Peter Drucker and others; "The Management Gurus: Lessons from the Best Management Books of all Time", edited by Chris Lauer; "when Markets Collide: Investment Strategies for the Age of Global Economic Change, by Mohamed El-Erian.
I notice you offer a number of additional services beyond bookselling. Can you describe some of these?
Probably our most popular service is the preparation of tailored book lists which our customers request so that they can make a selection to help solve a business information problem. In a similar vein we supply specialized book lists to individual business publications (like Bank of Montreal's small business newsletter). We help the audience of these publications by providing them with current information on quality books in their areas of interest.
We also provide a lunch and learn program wherein we provide an author to educate and entertain employees in their own workplace. These are just two of several services beyond retail bookselling.
Does the bookstore have the most comprehensive selection of business books in the city?
We have the largest, most comprehensive, indepth, quality business collection not just in the city, but in the world. Our knowledgeable staff selects, acquires and organizes our inventory to make it easy for customers to find things that are related to each other subject-wise when they come into the store. And of course, for those who don't come into the store the staff finds the material.
Are there any unique advantages/disadvantages/challenges from running a bookstore located in the heart of the Financial District?
Mostly our location is a huge advantage given the type of material we are selling. Parking is a problem, but we have solved that with our "Books for Business Curb Service", whereby we take a customer's purchase out to his or her car. They just have to phone ahead (like ordering a pizza), give us their credit card info, and call us just as they are pulling up to the door. We rush the package out, saving our clients $$$ of parking charges.