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January 17, 2014

The Morning After: What Do We Do Now?


Harriet trick-or-treating at Book City on Halloween

I don’t want to go to Book City since the news. I feel like if I stay home, I can pretend that none of this is happening, but of course it makes no difference and my heart is broken. (And in a way this loss has been drawn out–I’ve been missing Book City’s second floor for years. Who ever would have imagined that the early to mid ’10s of our century would prove a golden age? It was full of war and dreadfulness. Would have been shocked to think we’d look back at all fondly.) Anyway, I am not doing a great job of moving on here, which is the point of this post, but let us do so.

Here is what I am going to do. I will suck it up and shop at Book City for as long as I have the privilege to do so. (I have a yearning for Penelope Fitzgerald’s The Bookshop now. Wonder if they have it in stock? I wonder if they can still order books that aren’t in stock. Hmmm.) And I am going to  frequent the other great bookshops in our area–Little Island Comics has great kids books, and Parentbooks is actually moving a few blocks closer to our house, and they have a nice selection of children’s books too. Expanding my radius a bit, great books are on sale at the Bob Miller Book Room, the UofT Bookstore, and Good Egg in Kensington Market. (More about our local bookshops here.)

I am going to champion my favourite books and authors by following Carrie Snyder’s advice for how to support good books and good book culture. 

I am going to start asking myself more often, “What would Jane Jacobs do?” (This was Jane Jacobs’ local bookshop as well, so the question is more relevant than it might immediately appear.)

And I am going to continue to appeal to someone—someone brave, creative, smart and with some funds—to please fill the gap which will be left by Book City’s closure. The problem I think is that anyone lately with the chutzpah to so such a thing sometimes lacks the savvy and business acumen to pull the whole thing off. There could be a connection i.e. anyone who’d open up a bookshop these days must lack necessary smarts to run a business, but this isn’t always the case. I think that book selling is a bit of an art, and not everyone can do it. You have to have experience and expertise to do it right. I think about a local indie bookshop that shut recently, and how their stock was terrible–never once did they have the books I wanted on their shelves, and when I ordered books, they messed the orders up. How they were lacking the casual friendliness and focus on customer service that Book City has taught me to take for granted.

No more. But yes, there is a hole here. So the last thing I am going to do here is have faith that something excellent is going to come along and fill it.


3 thoughts on “The Morning After: What Do We Do Now?”

  1. JC Sutcliffe says:

    Start a cooperative?

    1. Kerry says:

      This has crossed my mind. It needs to cross more savvy minds than mine though.

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