Warren Clements writes (Jan. 19/14):
Elsewhere on this site, you will read that Nestlings Press’s books may be found in the branch of Book City near Bathurst on Bloor Street West in Toronto. No more, alas. This past week brought the devastating news that, after decades in business, that particular bookstore is closing. The other Book City branches will remain open.
My memories of the store stretch back to the 1980s, when I would haul copies of two collections of the Nestlings comic strip up the rickety wooden stairs to the second floor of the shop, to leave them on consignment. The atmosphere was sublime — all those books, all those readers browsing the shelves — and the staff members were helpful and interested. Thanks to John and all the others who have made recent forays so enjoyable, and best of luck to them as they navigate the increasingly cruel waters of this industry.
Book City isn’t alone, of course. World’s Biggest Bookstore is closing. And Steven Temple Books on Queen is in the final couple of days of selling off its stock of used and rare books before closing down. (Steven says he will resume selling elsewhere in Ontario, but probably from his home rather than through a store.)
The usual suspects are to blame: the high cost of renewing leases, the competition from Amazon.com, the fact that too few people have been buying books from bricks-and-mortar outlets to keep the stores alive. If you care about such things, and haven’t been in a bookstore recently, you might consider making a pilgrimage (if in Toronto) to one of the other Book Citys, or Ben McNally Books on Bay, or Ten Editions (used books) south of Bloor on Spadina, or TheatreBooks on Spadina north of King, or The Beguiling (illustrated books, graphic novels) on Markham Street near Bathurst and Bloor, or Sellers and Newel (used books) on College near Shaw, or whatever other surviving havens for the printed word are within easy travelling distance of your home. The sellers will be glad to see you, and you’ll always find something of value to carry home.