Times are a'changin...
I remember when the big box stores first hit the scene, particularly Chapters, back in the days when I had Prime Crime Books. The initial panic was offset by cooler heads, one in particular -- a sales rep, who said that the independents needed to try to ride out the wave. That the big box craze would burn itself out and guess what would emerge from the ashes -- independents.
He was right. Although, unfortunately, many of us were unable to stick around until it happened.
We see it in bookstores: Borders gone out of business; Chapters/Indigo diversifying to the point where books often seem the add-ins these days. Even some of the big box retailers in other sectors are opting to open smaller, local stores these days. The store in the community where it's a cosy, friendly shopping experience. The Home Hardware model.
So, while we're still loosing Indies that are important to the soul of the community, others are opening their doors. And in Ottawa, I'm happy to say, the mixed merchandise model is alive and well at Britton's in the Glebe. I'm touting my own horn here, a bit, because it really was Ted Britton's idea. He heard, on a daily basis, from customers who still regretted the closing of Prime Crime. So, what better fit than magazines and mysteries?
He'd already ventured into the book business, stocking mainly non-fiction and local authors. His next step was to clear a healthy space of wall and bring in the mysteries. I'm having all the fun doing the ordering and displaying...and meeting with mystery lovers, usually on Saturday afternoons. But don't hold me to that schedule.
We call it the Prime Crime Bookshelf and former customers are very pleased. New customers, too.
He's also very committed to doing book signings, so most weekends, that's what you'll find at Britton's in the Glebe, at 846 Bank St. In fact, today we're having Toronto author Rick Blechta signing his hot-off-the-press mystery, The Fallen One. He'll be at the store 2-4 p.m. Tomorrow, it's popular local author Barbara Fradkin, 1-3 p.m.
So, if you're an author who's planning to visit Ottawa, let us know if you'd like to do a signing. Send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you're a reader who loves a good read, I hope you'll stop by and watch the Prime Crime Bookshelf evolve.
The mystery is...just how far can we expand?