Ode to the Independent Book Store

This video has been taking the interwebs by storm and you’ve probably already seen it, but I absolutely adore it. It was filmed in one of Toronto’s finest independent bookstores, Type Books on Queen West. A team of volunteers spent many sleepless nights moving, stacking and animating the books. A few weeks ago, I shared this lovely video shot in the famous Shakespeare and Company bookstore in Paris, so it was nice to come across a video shot in my home town.

I’m as guilty as most of us in shopping in the big chain bookstores, mostly because their loyalty programs make it easy to save money. Since I buy a lot of books, this is important to me. But I shop at the big chain bookstore when I know exactly what I want, it isn’t the place I go to explore or discover new authors or new books. The big bookstore chains are designed to sell books and book-themed trinkets, they are not designed for book lovers.

But independent bookstores are designed for book lovers. Browsing in a store like Type Books or Nicholas Hoare is more like looking through the shelves of book lover’s library. Here the books are curated based on literary merit, not on saleability. I love shopping in an independent bookstore because I can count on discovering new books, new authors, or at least books and authors new to me. I love the sense of discovery. So, while I like to save money, I still splurge in an independent book store because I value the sense of discovery just as much as being able to take home a book (or three).

* I also adore this animated video based on the Charles Bukowski poem “The Blue Bird” (found via Brain Pickings).


One thought on “Ode to the Independent Book Store

  1. When I still lived in Australia (Perth) I had a wonderful bookstore there. It was some kind of mixture between library, store and coffee shop. You could take any book, sit down in next to a table or in a sofa to read it. Have a cup of coffee and a donut while you read! Like the book – buy it. If not, put it back. I was sitting there for hours and hours! I just loved it! I was both reading books and writing my own stories there. And the film in this post is lovely! Thanks for sharing it.

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