Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Another Calgary Book Store Closes

My favourite independent bookstore in Calgary is closing. McNally Robinson on 8th avenue, aka Stephen Avenue Mall will be closing within the next few months, citing increasing costs and insufficient sales.

The lack of sales is a mystery to me. Within a few square blocks there are at least 10,000 office workers, many of whom work in technical professions. Additionally they have a separate division that provides hard to find engineering and scientific books.

After 5Pm the corporate people go home and the street is replaced with a different crowd who probably don't place reading high on their priorities.

MR has one of the best selection of technical books of any store, even rivaling Chapters Indigo. But there's probably not good money in these types of books. Books on computer technologies are expensive to produce and sell low volumes. No one will get rich writing, publishing or selling a book detailing the UNIX grep command.

I once saw a complete multi-volume copy of the BC electrical code which amused me no end.

And you could not stump their staff either. I know I tried several times. They always knew the book and how to get it.

They have several other stores, in Winnipeg, Saskatoon and New York. They are opening a new store in Winnipeg this year. So its not like they're going out of business, they're just leaving Calgary.

So whats wrong with Calgary, and Alberta in general? Independent publishers are apparently leaving in droves and the independent books stores are barely hanging on.

This is the third independent book seller in Calgary that I've become addicted to that has had to close its doors after only a few years.

McNally Robinson Website Please recommend this post

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