Friday, September 17, 2010


Missing Bookstores

A sad happening in our town this week. Another independent bookstore is closing its doors. Leishman Books, in the Westgate Shopping Centre is the one and it’s been an outstanding indie for over 50 years. It has added immeasurably to the book culture in Ottawa and will be truly missed by so many. The owners, Diane and Sally, put up a valiant fight to keep it going...and it's our loss.

As a former bookstore owner, I grieve at each closing and part of me curses the day that big box stores took over the community. The fact that on-line shopping is now so prevalent. And also, the advent of e-books. (The author side of my split personality of course, welcomes the e-book and the additional royalties.)

As a reader, I hope I’ll never see the day when the printed paper page disappears. I have a love affair with my books. They line the walls in my house, bookcase by bookcase, room by room. They sit in decorative piles on the floor and on end tables. A mixture of mysteries and mainstream sit on my bedside table and stacks of cookbooks (looked through but seldom used, I admit) are found in my kitchen. What a sad and sorrowful day it would be without them.

Did I mention the decorating value? There are books written about decorating with books. I have them!

There’s a calming effect that comes from viewing a pile of TBRs…one or in many cases, several titles for every possible mood. Inquiring minds can find the information needed with a perusal of the table of contents and a flip of the pages. None of this trying to narrow down the scope for a Google search and then wading through unimaginable numbers of hits. Did I mention I have this love-hate relationship with my computer?

Not so with my books!

It’s truly a crime that Leishman is closing. It’s a crime when any independent bookstore closes. Some call it progress, this manipulation of people’s lives by the electronic and internet worlds. What do you call it?


  1. We can never replace good friends, but we can honor them by embracing new ones. I think the days ahead will show that print and digital can coexist. We writers will see to that :)

  2. You're not the only one who loves to live surrounded by books. The old friends & the queue of yet-to-become-acquainted fill my house too. While I can see the appeal of an e-reader that can hold a thousand titles, nothing can replace the feel of a printed book. For one thing, it's a relief to look at the static page after staring at computer screens for hours. Much less fatiguing. So, off I go to Leishman, as soon as I stop hacking. And it's about time I visited Pat at Perfect Books, too.

  3. You're probably right, Molly. But it will be a long wake.
    erikathegreen (aka A.S.) -- hope you're better soon. I know how you love to hoard those books.

  4. I am very sad about Leishman's closing. It feels like the end of an era. The mood in the store this week was so sombre. Linda, but how lovely that you were there to help and support Diane.

    I hope we will always have print books. I love the whole tactile experience, but I can see that there's a seismic shift coming.


  5. I have been debating getting a e-reading device and have decided against it. I spend so much of my day (like right now) on the computer that being in a bookstore, or just reading something on paper, is relaxing and a break from the work that is the computer. Same thing for a portable device to access e-mail or Internet. I have actively decided not to go that route. I spend far, far too much time on the computer as it is. Is it just me, but I always feel a certain tension on the computer no matter what I am doing. It is never relaxing.

  6. I agree, you can't drip crumbs on them (or bagel seeds)without jamming the keys. You can't spill coffee on them without even more disastrous consequences. And for those of us old enough to remember the world before their existence, books bring a sweetly nostalgic sense of peace. Very, very sad about Leishmans's. Long live the book.

  7. Excellent point, Vicki. I agree totally. thanks for adding that.
    I also agree that books are more resilient than electronics.
    I'm sure you're right, MJ...why do I feel old & ancient suddenly?

  8. Linda,
    I'm just catching up on your blog. I visited another Linda, at the library today, and we were commiserating on the closing of yet another of our fav bookstores. Yes, as you know, I have added another 2 or 3 TBR stacks as a result of visiting during the closing. I have recently thought of getting an iPad for carrying all those TBR books so that I always have another new book at my fingertips. But, it is just not the same. A book has weight and texture and presence and can be gripped during compelling scenes or have coffee dripped on it and survive. We'll see what the future brings ... I hope it is another book! .. Linda