So I’m in an independent bookstore in Toronto, looking for those wonderful striped Penguin books coffee mugs, designed like the 1950’s book covers.
I give them to new members of our English department. When I first did this, I sent the staff a list of the titles, without telling them they were coffee mugs. Just tell me your favourite book.
English teachers. “Are we going to teach these?” “My favourite book to read, or to teach?” Oh, brother.
When they got the mugs, they loved them. So with the arrival of a new staffer, I went looking for the mugs again.
The store I went to didn’t have any. When I asked what other book store might have them, I suggested a competitor. The store owner said, “Screw them,” and recommended a different one. When I asked what he had against the first one, he said they were no longer any good since they got bought out. By whom? By Chapters.
“They’re a subsidiary”.
The fact that all of this was ridiculous didn’t strike me and make me want to blog as much as the needling question: why have any preferences about the world of independent bookstores at all? Aren’t they all an endangered species these days, to be savoured and celebrated, no matter what their particularities?
Just give me the phone number and let me decide which store is best. Based on the above comments, it might not be the store I went into this morning.
I’m still looking for the coffee mugs. Maybe online?