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Bookstores

Sellers & Newel

Posted by Staff / Posted on January 23, 2012

Sellers NewelSellers & Newel is a rare new entry into the retail book market in Toronto. Stocked with a wide variety of books, ranging from rare collector's items to $3 paperbacks, the real standout characteristic of Sellers & Newel is that the inventory is composed of the owners' massive collection of 40,000 books.

Sellers Newel BooksOwners and cousins Peter Sellers and David Newel decided that after a lifetime of collecting far more books than they could possibly hope to read, the best thing to do with their bounty would be to open a shop and start the long process of selling it off. So in mid-November, they filled their shelves with a carefully curated selection of approximately 4,000 titles (only a fraction of the total) and opened up shop at College and Beatrice.

Sellers Newel BooksAnd though the store's space isn't particularly eye-catching, it's worth taking a closer look. The finest gems in the store include a first paperback edition of On the Road, Charles Bukowski's Hot Water Music (if the title doesn't ring a bell, that's because there were only 30 copies ever printed), and a five-volume collection of Samuel Beckett's essays that can be yours if you're looking to drop $1,600. In fact, they have an entire section dedicated to Beckett and James Joyce. But they're careful to maintain variety they tell me, so always remain well-stocked with classic literature, light cottage reading, and $3 and $5 paperbacks.

Sellers Newel BooksPeople looking for tricky finds or special editions might want to start their search here because even if Sellers & Newel don't have quite the right thing, their longstanding relationships with book dealers across the city mean that many titles are just a phone call away. "We have had pretty good success at getting books in for people by the next day," says Sellers.

Sellers Newel BooksFor Sellers, who writes ad copy and who has also written a couple mystery books, there was no end to his collecting. When his home could no longer house the books, he started packing them into storage. "By the time I had to rent storage lockers for them, that does start to border on a kind of mania," says Sellers, "So this is some kind of therapy." He jokes that his friends and family were just about ready to call the reality TV show Hoarders on him.

Sellers Newel BooksNewel's interest in book collecting grew during his 30 years of working in Toronto bookstores, including David Mason Books and Abelard Books.

Sellers Newel BooksAs digital books and Kindle readers grow in popularity, Newel and Sellers continue to believe in the importance of tangible, physical books. Some might call them passionate, others might even say compulsive, but these two men want their love of books to be a contagious and infectious thing.

Sellers Newel Books"There's nothing quite like a book," says Newel. "There are dozens of books that we have that are great works of art. Why wouldn't you want to have that in your home when you read it, just as you would a painting off the wall of a fine gallery."

Sellers Newel BooksSellers Newel BooksWriting by Emily Burke / Photos by Jesse Milns

Discussion

30 Comments

belvedere / January 23, 2012 at 03:26 pm
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i love used bookstores. at least i used to love them, until i found a book infested w bedbugs at a store in victoria. can't go near them now.
Welshgrrl / January 23, 2012 at 04:32 pm
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Fantastic, look forward to checking it out. Now, can someone please PLEASE open up a bookstore in the Bathurst/St. Clair area? There several empty storefronts between Vaughan and Wychwood, it would be nice to have something there other than yet another thrift store or fast food chain ...
Sellers & Newel / January 23, 2012 at 04:54 pm
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Finding bedbugs in a book would certainly be off-putting. However we guarantee our books to be vermin free. Hope to see you soon.

Sellers & Newel
Marion Adler / January 23, 2012 at 06:37 pm
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Can't wait to come in person. The place looks very classy and the books look irresistible...
Nico / January 23, 2012 at 08:00 pm
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Looks incredible. Can't wait to visit!
me replying to a comment from Sellers & Newel / January 23, 2012 at 08:23 pm
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Good on ya, Sellers & Newel! That was a little mean, belvedere, to put that in people's heads! I hope your book store is a great success and look forward to visiting when I move back to Toronto in May! :) Good luck!
Dana / January 23, 2012 at 08:50 pm
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I could always tell a blogto article, everything is "curated". A bookseler curates his books, a clothing shop curates the clothes and a few weeks ago F*cked Up curated the line-up to a show they threw. Just stop with the pretension.
Great! / January 23, 2012 at 11:11 pm
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This place is great! I've happily made a few purchases, and stopped by just to browse. It's nice to have a bookstore in the neighbourhood again.
Ann Baggley / January 23, 2012 at 11:28 pm
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It looks wonderfully inviting Peter! Can't wait to come in and get lost for a few hours...Congratulations!
Spike Milligan / January 24, 2012 at 02:26 am
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Looking forward to meeting Peter Sellers.
Ariel / January 24, 2012 at 07:58 am
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It looks quite cozy inside for a cold day. All those titles in the photos we know and want to read again. The authors we never met yet but are willing to meet. If I am ever in my old neighborhood again, I well certainly visit the shop.
Shawn replying to a comment from Dana / January 24, 2012 at 08:37 am
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I walk past the store everyday and the photos look pretty much exactly like the store does....unless you mean that BlogTO was selective in choosing photos. If the latter is the case, I have no clue what you'd normally expect from a website or article (or anything, for that matter). If something is edited, its "curated"; if something is unedited, its unprofessional. There's no way to win with some of you glass-always-totally-empty commenters, is there?
Sellers & Newel replying to a comment from Great! / January 24, 2012 at 09:53 am
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Thanks for the kind words. Next time you're in, say hello.
Sellers & Newel replying to a comment from Dana / January 24, 2012 at 09:55 am
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Hi, Dana.

In fairness to Emily from blogto, curated was a word we used in the interview. It was something that has been said to us by a few customers. Regardless, we have tried to select the inventory with care.
Amy Lavender Harris / January 25, 2012 at 10:28 am
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Congratulations on opening -- so lovely to see a bookstore *opening* in Toronto! Will be in tomorrow.
Verbaliser / January 25, 2012 at 12:13 pm
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I live in the area and I've already stopped into the store. Great selection, but I was most impressed with the knowledgeable and friendly staff.
stephanie / January 25, 2012 at 01:56 pm
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Awesome selection! I'll be back again. Great place for unique gifts you can't find anywhere else.
Jennnnnnnnn / January 26, 2012 at 04:17 pm
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best book store ever!!!!!!!!!!
Henry & Gayle Kahn / February 3, 2012 at 08:03 am
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Congratulations to you, Peter, & to your partner. Best of luck.
Nora / February 8, 2012 at 04:42 pm
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An excellent bookstore. I recommend it highly. Very cozy, very friendly, lots of good finds. For the average reader and collector alike. You won't be disappointed. My congratulations to Peter and David.
janices8 / February 26, 2012 at 09:47 am
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Thank you, David, for quickly finding the lovely red Modern Library edition of Passages from the Diary of Samuel Pepys. Your store is a treasure trove.
JDHalperin / April 3, 2012 at 11:14 pm
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@Dana, I agree curated is overused, but this store only has a very small fraction of the total books they can sell on the shelves at once, so what appears on the shelves is curated in a literal sense.

It sucks when an overused word can no longer describe the situation it best describes.

Anyway, whenever my favourite author turns up they set it aside for me.
I luv chicken / May 5, 2012 at 11:09 pm
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I was just in the store today. Stumbled upon it while in the neighbourhood. I noticed that I have a number of the titles that are on the shelves. It left a feeling of being a very personal collection of books. Now I know why.

I couldn't resist picking out something. Prices are more than
reasonable. There are more than a few gems hidden in plain view.Worth the trip across town.
Desperately Seeking Manners replying to a comment from belvedere / June 27, 2012 at 02:28 pm
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The store itself is a treasure. The staff, however, is the bedbug: condescending and rude, making you itch.

I was dropping in to look around and inquire about staffing. I was curious about spending a day or two a month in a shop which I thought was interesting. The gentleman indicated no openings were available and instead of leaving it at that, he began offering unsolicited and negative feedback on the graphic design of my resume.

His suggestion: all resumes should be typeset in 12pt Times New Roman. After 10 years experience working at some of Canada's and Holland's top design firms, I have never been refused employment because of a typeface, especially not because I wasn't using Times.

I smiled but he could tell the feedback wasn't welcome. Nevertheless, he continued ranting. He even suggested I go to Metro Hall for resume training at the job desk. To boot, after his monologue was over, and as I was turning my back to walk away, I heard him murmur "Why do I even bother?" Good question.

My unsolicited advice to BlogTO readers: Never buy books from bedbugs.
Sellers & Newel replying to a comment from Desperately Seeking Manners / June 29, 2012 at 07:00 pm
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I have just read this email and, as owner of Sellers & Newel, I apologize for the response you received to your resume. I was not in the store at the time this happened but I can understand your annoyance. If you'd like to bring your resume back, or email it, I'd be happy to look at it. Once again, I regret that this happened and I hope there is something I can do to help restore your faith in our store.

alicia / July 19, 2012 at 10:09 am
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I have never had anything but great experiences at Sellers and Newel! Whether it's an exhaustive catalogue of all things cat for my daughter or something Graham Greene for my brother or an elusive out-of-print title by Fredric Warburg, the positive and professional charms of this store, and its proprietors, win me over whole hog.
triana lopez / July 25, 2012 at 06:55 pm
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i need to know if you have the book of barbara taylor bradford dangerous to know and a letter from stranger please
Sellers & Newel replying to a comment from triana lopez / July 27, 2012 at 04:41 pm
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Sorry, Triana, but we have no Barbara Taylor Bradford in stock at all. We can find those books for you, though, if you don't have any luck elsewhere. Thanks.
Sellers & Newel replying to a comment from triana / August 9, 2012 at 10:44 am
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Hi, Triana. To make a book order, please send details through our website, sellersandnewel.com, and we'll do all we can to help. Thanks.
dusty / July 30, 2014 at 12:52 am
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Would you have any biographies of Primo Levi, particularly Ian Thomas or Carole Angier?

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