January 19, 2010

Duthie Books to Close

Sad news from Vancouver:
VANCOUVER - Independent bookseller Duthie Books will shut its doors at the end of February after 52 years in business.

Facing pressure from online bookseller Amazon and multi-national chains such as Chapters, owner Cathy Duthie Legate has decided to pack it in and close the last of eight locations on Fourth Avenue in Kitsilano.

The family-owned chain was founded in 1957 by Bill Duthie.

"I'm just not making it, so I'm going to close it down," said Duthie Legate. "We are going to start our regular sale January 28, but it will be better, of course, with discounts of 40, 60 then 80 percent and I hope to have all the books out of here by the end of February."

"Then I will tear down the store," she said. "I'm sorry that it will leave a void in the city."

Duthie Books has been hurt in recent years by encroachment on the traditional book market from every direction: big box stores, online sellers and most recently Kindle.
(via, full story here)

I think the original Duthie's on 10th Avenue was the first place I consciously shopped for books.

Somehow Murchie's was saved; where's the backer with a heart of gold, a lot of money, and a great personal library to keep Duthie's going?


Unknown said...

Well, you can guess that I'll lament this development. The complicated formulae by which our online retail masters recommend books to us are nowhere near as reliable as the featured sections of independent bookstores. I'm sorry, "Heather's Picks" at the brick and mortar Chapters, Indigo, and Coles don't count.

The mechanism by which music has been marketed to us has gotten more of a re-examination as we stumble down the digital garden path. But, independent of the suitability of eReaders, I remain concerned about how we find out what is new and exciting to read. I got three more recommendations at the "Relay" at Halifax Airport -- itself, of course, a faceless chain -- than I have gotten from Amazon.ca, Chapters.ca, et al so far this year.

On a side note, I visited Doull's on my recent visit. It was always an eccentric shambles, of course, but it looked like an explosion of books last week. I wonder if their new, uncatalogued inventory comes from other used stores going under? That's the thing for me: I don't necessarily need a lot of independent bookstore, but I need some. We haven't had anyone here, now, for about eight years. When you have to buy from WalMart, you know things are bad!

Bookphilia said...

Ah this is sad news for all indie booksellers. It seems that at least once a month, I hear of some seemingly entrenched shop going under.

The first place I remember consciously shopping for books is Bookmark on Spring Garden Rd. I do hope they'll remain! SPR would be a soulless pit to me without it.

JRussell said...

Some independents seem to be adapting to the new world of bookselling better than others, and fortunately Bookmark is thriving, as far as I can tell. They have a great selection for the size of the store.
Strange to say, when Chapters first opened its Bloor St store in Toronto, it was fantastic. A huge poetry section, and a lot of scholarly books. Of course, that didn't last long.