In his August 2015 Shelf Talkers Column, Robert J. Wiersema wrote a passionate ode to the independent bookseller and the role these people play in the writer's life:
"As a writer, I cannot thank the independent booksellers of this country enough. They not only read, they react, passionately. They order stock. They up their orders as they win over their customers. They make sure the book has a good, visible place in the store. They host the authors. They are—and this is, if anything, an understatement—the lifeblood of this industry. Every writer owes them a debt, their deepest gratitude."
High praise, and it doesn't even begin to convey what independent bookshops mean to readers, and to anyone who is fortunate enough to live in a community with a thriving indie. Bookshops are some of the best places in the world. (Think I'm exaggerating? Check out The Bookshop Book, by Jen Campbell, which includes a few great Canadian shops in its international tour.)
Canadians love bookshops so much we even put them in our books. Which is more than just meta—it makes for great reading too.
Books and ghosts: how could we not feature Mark Leslie's new book, Tomes of Terror: Haunted Bookstores and Libraries, on 49th Shelf during the week leading up to Halloween? It's a collection of true tales about spooky places rife with books and ghosts, and even some less spooky places where you'd least expect a ghostly encounter—like a Smithbooks located in a suburban shopping mall. We're pleased to share that story with you here, as well as another about a library reportedly haunted by a young woman whose face has been glimpsed peering out from the tower window.
The ghostly residents of many beloved bookstore locations that are now closed continue to haunt the hearts and minds of both patrons and staff members. These spirits are all the more memorable if, like any good customer, they display a penchant for a particular author’s books.
I was intrigued to chat with an old bookseller colleague about an experience that she had when she worked at a bookstore than has been closed now for about 14 years. Even though Shannon left the store back in 1998, she kept with her a fond and deep love for the bookstore, her fellow staff members, and the customers of the Smithbooks at Sherway Gardens.