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Annex location of Book City to close after 38 years

Posted by Derek Flack / January 16, 2014

Book City Annex ClosingBook City in the Annex will close its doors this spring. I write a lot of deadpool posts on this site, but this one really stings. While I've been bemoaned the passing of bookstores like Pages and This Ain't the Rosedale Library in the past, this Book City has been my local go-to for about decade. Open late with friendly staff and plenty of cheap books to go along with above average cultural studies and fiction sections, this was your quintessential neighbourhood book shop.

Unsurprisingly, the planned closure is a familiar story. With the store's lease up, ownership decided it just didn't make sense financially to continue on. "We agonized over the decision," general manager Ian Donker told Quill & Quire. "But sadly it didn't make much economic sense to continue... Rent goes up every single year. Sales have slipped for a number of years, through no fault of the staff or our efforts."

Locations at Yonge and St. Clair, the Danforth and the Beaches will continue on, but staff at the Annex location will be not be transferred to other stores. Get in there and say goodbye while you can. The store will surely be missed.



b.craftie / January 16, 2014 at 08:39 pm
Oooooh noooo. I love this store!
The staff are amazing - friendly and funny and knowledgable and talented; just an outstanding bunch of people!!!
It's so hard to go up against the online giants, but they offer something way more personal. The book selection is thoughtful, lots of first-edition signed copies, always at least 10% off the cover price and great deals on the bargain tables. For such a small store they often have just that one copy of whatever it is you are looking for.
I wish them all the very best whatever they do next.
Tracey / January 16, 2014 at 09:12 pm
This sux completely. This is a great shop staffed by some really great people full of some really great books. It is my go-to place for gifts and after-dinner book browsing... more fun than it sounds. I agree with Derek - lots of deadpool entries are just symptoms of life in the big city, but life without Book City will be a little bit smaller.
Tracey / January 16, 2014 at 09:13 pm
Hee hee - the STORE is full of good books, not the people :P
Rich / January 16, 2014 at 09:19 pm
Love Book City and sad to see it go but... does this mean crazy book sale?
Matthew / January 16, 2014 at 09:25 pm
As a long ago Annex Book City employee - a "Book Citizen" - I'll miss this place. If not for the books, but for all of the wonderful people I met while working here - most of whom are still very close friends. A toast to BC!
Jacob / January 16, 2014 at 09:45 pm
I'm still saddened by the World's Biggest Bookstore closing. I loved the atmosphere of that place. :/
iSkyscraper / January 16, 2014 at 09:47 pm
Really sad, but inevitable under current market forces. There are few bookstores left in New York or any other successful cities. Even Borders got taken out and many of their urban locations were doing great. Amazon and ebooks and other elements are just killing bookstores.

The only program I've seen that works to keep these kinds of places open is when the city says "you know, there is value to these kinds of diverse, small commerical spaces that the public enjoy and that lend character to neighborhoods. We are willing to invest in them." They then go and buy up the buildings or the leases and become a landlord. They then rent the spaces out to bookstores and other qualifying businesses at artificially low rents. Paris has done this for a number of years and it works really well.

But good luck with that in Rob Fucking Ford's Toronto.
nypinta / January 16, 2014 at 10:05 pm
It sounds like if their rent didn't keep going up they might still be there. I don't know how many times I see an independently owned store in my city close because of rent and then the store front stays empty for months, sometimes years. How does that benefit the property owner? To price yourself out of a tenant?
if / January 16, 2014 at 11:57 pm
if people are sad about bookstores closing then they must STOP BUYING BOOKS ON AMAZON AND STOP READING BOOKS ONLINE.

KailaGG / January 17, 2014 at 12:04 am
Suuucks. Annex is down to what - two bookstores now? BMV and Willow Books . . . Who's next?
gerry / January 17, 2014 at 12:37 am
BMV will continue on, I hope, forever....
Eric / January 17, 2014 at 09:26 am
How can any local store compare with BMV?
Bill / January 17, 2014 at 09:42 am
In Rob Ford's Toronto, nobody reads anymore.
iSkyscraper / January 17, 2014 at 09:43 am
Nypinta, unless your store is in Detroit your rent always goes up. Because in successful, thriving cities there are market forces that drive up the rent as businesses compete for prime space. Plus, insurance goes up every year, taxes go up every year, energy costs (many leases include heat) go up every year, cost of repairs and maintenance go up every year...

I doubt the landlord is pricing himself out of having a tenant; he's just doing what he has to do to make a living. Another tenant will come along. It just won't be a bookstore, because unless subsidized it seems that physical bookstores can't compete against online booksellers.
hamish / January 17, 2014 at 10:08 am
It's a real loss to the area for sure; though I am behind in my reading so it's likely good for me and my wallet. But we don't need another fracking bar go in there. Should there be control on commercial rent hikes? - or just NO sympathy for landlords, and don't let them get tax breaks for unoccupied places?
missedthebus / January 17, 2014 at 10:52 am
First Honest Ed's, and now Book City? I don't know how much more of this I can take. Our city continues to lose its soul, and this is especially hard to accept when it's happening in my own neighbourhood.

I've been trying really hard to only read books from the library, but without fail when I go into Book City I leave spending way more money on books than I should. It's the best bookstore I've ever been in.

It will be sorely missed. My mother taught me there was more to life than money. There was, wasn't there?
Andrew / January 17, 2014 at 11:14 am
As a current Book Citizen, thanks for all the nice words folks. Please come on by and say farewell while you can!
Joe / January 17, 2014 at 11:55 am
this is sad to hear. i remember going browsing through that store as a kid.
David Simmons / January 17, 2014 at 12:10 pm
I will shift my patronage over to Book City's Danforth location, and urge all their other regulars to do the same.
JohnnyC! / January 17, 2014 at 04:33 pm
I didn't get in there often enough, but every time that I did, I was always taken aback by the level of service and actual genuine care of the staff.

The annex still has an amazing roster of book shops. Here's a list!: Doug Miller Books (Bl & Manning), The Beguiling (Bl & Markham), Little island Comics (Bathurst & Lennox), BMV (Bl & Brunswick), Labyrinth comics (Bl & Walmer).

Thanks to the Mirvish greed sale, at least two of those will be gone within a few years.
El Mike-o / January 17, 2014 at 07:10 pm
Hadazul / January 18, 2014 at 02:45 am
WHAAAT! No, this is my favorite shop of any kind of shop. Am saddened by this. I had spent wonderful hours, for many years, leafing through and buying most of my cherished books at this location....apologies, but I just can't get over this news. Am presently away, and I won't get a chance to see it open again. Snifff! Goodbye Book City at Annex, you'll be sorely missed, not just by me, but by all of your faithful bookworms like me that loved walking in, and always, coming out with something good to read. Awww I'll miss you! There isn't a wonderful shop like yours. I have been living in the Annex for 32 years, ever since I arrived in Canada, for many years, and my
Hadazul / January 18, 2014 at 02:48 am
Favorite bookstore has always been, Book City at Annex!! I wish well to staff and Ian
Thanks for being part of my life for many years!!
Mike / January 18, 2014 at 11:37 am
Still pissed off the one in Bloor West Village is gone and now this. What a shame.
Wendy / January 18, 2014 at 11:40 am
This will be a highly noticeable absence to the area.
Very disappointing news :( Even my 7 yr old son is sad!
Books are so 20th century! / January 18, 2014 at 04:57 pm
Are ye daft, tryin' to run a book store in da heere 'n naew??
chris / January 20, 2014 at 10:20 am
It's the worst location of the chain. The owner has done nothing to improve or upgrade the interior in forever; it's dingy and sad inside. I stopped going regularly after they closed the second floor - for no apparent reason. On top of all of that, the owner, Frans, is an abusive troll to the customers. I don't like to see bookstores close, but this one can die a natural death.
emma / January 23, 2014 at 12:05 pm
This is really sad. I just hope the other bookshops can hold on as the economic changes keep coming. I was in Bloor West Village during the holidays & it's depressing how sterile the neighbourhood has become after the loss of Book City. Now I hear the Chapters in the Village will be closing too. Terrible to see a vibrant neighbourhood lose its colour.
emma replying to a comment from chris / January 23, 2014 at 12:08 pm
I've never spoken with the man. However, the staff were incredible at the Village and Annex locations. Indie bookstores are the best kept secrets when it comes to great folks. I wonder if some of the Annex staff will be migrating over to the Danforth. It sounds like no, though.
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