Good news from some of Toronto's independent bookstores

From the Toronto Star, a heartwarming piece about a small number of specialty independent bookstores that are thriving in Toronto, including BakkaPhoenix, the world's oldest remaining science fiction bookstore (and my former employer). Things are going so well for Bakka that they've bought a new, larger building near the University of Toronto campus. Any good news about indie booksellers is a welcome break from the doom-and-gloom of the past twenty-some years.

But while some of the competition is retrenching or worse, BakkaPhoenix, which recorded a double-digit increase in sales last year, is expanding. In stark contrast to the recently shuttered This Ain't the Rosedale Library, BakkaPhoenix is readying a fall move from the Queen St. W. location it currently rents to the larger, two-storey Harbord St. digs it has purchased.

"One of the things we were looking for was space for our community," says Chris Szego, who has managed the store for the past decade. "We already have had science-fiction book clubs approach us to see if they can hold their meetings there.

"We want to schedule writing an reading workshops. That's something independent bookstores can be great at. We offer community."

The store, which has relocated a handful of times since it first opened in 1972, will set up shop in the former home of Atticus Books, a couple of doors west of Spadina and within shouting distance of the University of Toronto.

"Hopefully, we can insert ourselves quickly into the mental headspace of University of Toronto undergraduates because there's an endless supply of those," Szego says.

Tough times, but some bookstores have a different story

(via @david_tallan)

(Image: Bakka-Phoenix, a Creative Commons Attribution (2.0) image from bobolink's photostream)