Morioka Shoten is a Tokyo bookstore that carries only one title at a time. It's a beautiful concept, but you have to bear in mind that greater Tokyo has a population of 38 million people. This would not fly in East Chezzetcook. Source.
In case you hadn't noticed the continuing going-to-hell of the Canadian book business, here's your final proof. Sequential is reporting the imminent closure of Pages on Queen Street in Toronto. Pages seemed to achieve effortlessly what no bookstore in Ottawa has ever managed to do -- be cool. A large part of its appeal came from the decision to hire illustrator Michael Cho to do all the in-store signage. I hope some Toronto blogger has the foresight to go through there with a camera and post the section signs. Douglas
Here we see the Canadian and American History, Labour Studies, and Canadian Literature sections of Benjamin Books in a dumpster after a rainfall. The yellow and blue book in the centre left is an Alice Munro, now with a smoky brown border. Poking out from under on the centre right is something by W.O. Mitchell. Throwing armloads of smoky hardcovers the length of a dumpster all day must be a crappy job and I'm glad I'm not doing it. If you're sitting in Ottawa and clasping your hands over the destruction of so many wonderful books I have only this to say: you had twenty years to buy them and take them to a loving home, and you didn't do it. Douglas
The other night an arsonist torched the bookstore where I worked for about a dozen years ordering textbooks for University of Ottawa professors who didn't like the chain operating the bookstore on campus. The store survived, but not the back room or the books in it, including these textbooks which for one reason or another were not returnable to the publisher. I remember ordering Up The Ladder from a tiny publisher for a criminology course, and Biochimie for a French-language biology course. Books are amazingly durable, and despite the appearance of these ones their texts would be nearly 100 % recoverable, if they were the only surviving copies. Douglas
For about twelve years I worked in a bookstore that sold textbooks. Here are the highlights of some actual conversations:
1. "Do you have the Norton Anthology of English Literature, volume eleven?" "It only comes in two volumes." "My syllabus says to get volume eleven." "That's Roman numerals." "Oh!"
2. "Do you have the Northern Anthropology of English Literature?"
3. "My student loan hasn't come in and I need to do my readings. Can I take the book now and pay you when it comes in?"
4. "This Norton Anthology you sold me is missing eight pages!" "Well, I'll swap you. Give me the defective one." "But all my notes are in it." "I need the defective one to get a refund from the publisher." "Can't you just give me another?"
5. "There wasn't space for me in the course, so I need to return this book." "Fine." Ringtone. "Oh, hi! No, I'm just at the bookstore returning a book. Cheryl let me share hers."
6. "If I buy this, how long do I have to return it?" "The deadline's today. You have till six o'clock." "I'd better hurry!"
7. "Is this like a bookstore?"
8. "I have to return this book." "No way! Look how it opens by itself! And you can see where the guy at the photocopy shop taped the work order to the front cover! You xeroxed the whole book!" "You never said I couldn't do that!"
9. "Can I return this? I don't need it 'cause I bought the photocopy."