Toronto Bookstores

Bad news greets Toronto bookstores in 2012

Despite the relative youth of 2012, this year already appears set to be a bad one for Toronto bookshops. Continuing a trend that has seen the closure of Pages, This Ain't the Rosedale Library, and Ballenford Books, Quill & Quire reports that the Book Mark is set to shut its doors on or before January 21st. The oldest independent bookshop in the city, despite a few location changes, the store has been in steady operation for over 45 years. In a press release issued earlier today, owner Sue Houghting explains that if the Book Mark's stock runs short prior to the scheduled closure date, she'll close up early. Talk about unceremonious endings.

Not surprisingly, Houghting cites a rent increase as the chief cause for the store's closure. No doubt sales are down, too. The fate of Glad Day Bookshop is also uncertain in the new year. The longest surviving LGBT bookstore in the world (after the closure of the Oscar Wilde Bookshop in 2009), its current owner, John Scythes, recently told the Toronto Star he's looking to sell the shop to a friend or sympathetic member of his client base before offering it up to the public. In our 2008 profile of the store, manager Sholem Krishtalka spoke of the hardships the store faced, not the least of which involved hefty legal fees stemming from a battle with the Ontario Film Review Board.

Despite the efforts of customers and community members to help offset the fees associated with the legal proceedings, Scythes had to cover most of the costs out of his own pocket. And given how difficult independent bookstores have found it to survive without added financial pressure in Toronto, it's hardly surprising that Glad Day's future is up in the air. Fingers crossed that someone's willing to give it a new lease on life later this year.

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