Tuesday, January 25, 2011


Independents Matter!

Have you come across this group, Independents Matter, in your Facebook travels? It's from the Canadian Booksellers Assoc. and all about the book selling business and keeping the reader informed about news and events that can affect their reading opportunities.

It's one slogan I support 100%. The independent bookstore does matter and it's very much alive, I'm happy to report. Last night I attended a booksellers' dinner hosted by the Ottawa Regional Booksellers Assoc., which I belonged to until closing Prime Crime Books last March. I'm now invited to attend their dinners held twice a year, as a "Bookseller Emeritus" -- an honour! These dinners are held during the ORBA Book Fair, which is held in a local hotel, an event where publishers' sales reps book appointments with booksellers and present the new season of books. Orders are usually taken, advance reading copies are joyfully accepted, and enthusiasm for the printed word abounds.

At last night's dinner, the turnout was amazing. Our portion of the restaurant was packed. Booksellers are alive and well...and enjoy getting together. The fact that food and wine were involved, is beside the point. We were entertained by four authors whose books are on the new list. They each told us enough about themselves and their books, to make use eager to read them and go on to handsell them.

I was delighted to be seated next to John Brady, whose Irish roots are evident with each word he says, and whose crime novels have always been a favourite of mine. He'd come from Toronto to share his newest Matt Minogue thriller, The Coast Road. It, like the nine previous Minogue books, is set in Ireland and the country, which I so enjoyed visiting a few years ago (except for the stress of driving -- will never do that again!) comes alive in the pages. I'll review The Coast Road at a later date and am really looking forward to the read.

The message is simple -- Independents do matter. Bookselling is alive and well. Readers, be happy! Authors, breathe a deep sigh of relief. Now, we just need to spread the word!

Linda Wiken/Erika Chase

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