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Book Scene: Bye Bye Indies

It's sad to see, but bookstores are a-closin'
- Annex Books (Bathurst), Abelard (Queen) - I hardly knew ye (which is my own fault, they've been around for ages). But I just moved to the annex, pratically next door to Annex Books, and I won't have much of a chance to visit. Alas.

Why? Rent. The profit margin for shops that actually sell books (rather than 'lifestyle items', ahem, toys, bath salts, and other, um, literary accoutrement) is quite small. Bigger bookstores can reap in huge profits from remaindered titles, get bigger discounts from publishers because they buy larger quantities, and keep customers with the lower prices (paid for by the margin on the aforementioned tchotchkes).

Expenses go up, profits stay level, even at this time of year. This is where I make some comment about the good old days, right?

So I'd like to take a moment to remind you that in indies, generally speaking, you won't necessarily find a five dollar bin, but you will find knowledgeable staff who can offer you something besides the top ten best-sellers or the cookbook section when you want recommendations. And you'll support the local economy. (And they have the best author events).

Remember to support indies like Pages, This Ain't the Rosedale Library, Book City, Toronto Women's Bookstore, et al (the list gets shorter and shorter) when you do your holiday shopping. You'll love it, I promise.

P.S. It's the season for indie upsets, apparently. Book industry people are all agog over the news that longtime Nicholas Hoare manager Ben McNally has tendered his resignation. The store will continue, but really, what's the Enterprise without Captain Kirk?


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