Survival of the bookworm
By Julianna Bonnett
Jerry Seinfeld once said… “A bookstore is one of the only pieces of evidence we have that people are still thinking.”
Indigo, Canada’s largest bookstore has an unofficial monopoly on the nation’s bookstore market which makes it very difficult for any independent bookstore to survive. According to Indigo Books & Music annual reports, sales for this year have increased in revenue by 4.5 per cent. Revenue in the third quarter was $400.3 million, up $17.1 million from last year. With a declining amount of bookstores in Windsor, independent bookstores are finding it hard to stay in business.
Roger Wurdemann, owner at Juniper Books said owning a bookstore has always been a lifelong dream of his.
“This has always been a dream for me from the beginning. My mom was the one who got me so interested in books. She always had a book in her hands,” said Wurdemann.
Wurdemann said the reason why people keep coming back is the atmosphere.
“The point of opening this bookstore was to make it feel like a comfortable atmosphere for anyone,” said Wundemann. I wanted it to feel like somewhere you could just come in, sit down and open a book and relax.”
He said what separates themselves from stores like Indigo or Chapters is the fact that they have rare books you can’t find anywhere else.
According to Authorearnings.com, ebooks are being sold at twice the rate than printed books. Additionally, a significant amount of hard cover books are sold online for a cheaper price.
Jerry Wisdom, former owner at South Shore Books, which closed in 1995 said owning a bookstore was just too much work.
“My wife Sheila and I opened South Shore Books in 1978 and at that time we didn’t have much competition besides other independent bookstores,” said Wisdom.
The store was open for 17 years. Wisdom said they closed the store in 1995 before the tech industry came in. Amazon and online stores made it hard to keep up with the business.
With an underwhelming amount of independent bookstores in Windsor, Bob Stewart, manager at Biblioasis said their business will always be unique in its own way.
“What the big box stores like Chapters and Indigo can’t offer is books in translation, said Stewart. “I think our graphic novel section and poetry section is some of the best in the region. We’re the bookstore that worries about what kind of book is in your hand, not what kind of pillow or mug you’re using while reading.”
As Wurdemann said, “Even though there’s a declining amount of independent bookstores in Windsor, there will never be a declining amount of bookworms.”