After 32 years of business the Book Warehouse will be closing their doors for good. So are book stores facing the same obsolescence as music stores and theatres? Did the Kindle and iPad take away that many hard copy readers? Or is this more a symptom of high rents and not enough sales as Chapters seems to be the go to place for most?
Founder Sharman King says that he has especially valued Book Warehouse’s participation in the cultural life of Vancouver. “Because the owners were all musicians we naturally sought out partnerships with publishers, other booksellers and performing arts organizations. We’ve had long relationships with Vancouver Opera, The Cultch, Bard on the Beach, VancouverInternational Film Festival, Vancouver Art Gallery, Vancouver Playhouse, MusicFest Vancouver, Vancouver Kids’ Festival, Vancouver Writers and Readers Festival, Vancouver Jazz Festival and many, many more arts organizations. We’re really going to miss working with these groups – they define our community.”
Book Warehouse started as a remainder bookstore at 632 West Broadway in 1980 and quickly grew to a promotional multi-store bookseller by pioneering a customer-first policy of discounting every book including all current and bestselling titles. The discounts ranged from at least twenty percent to the truly absurd. At times books were sold for nine cents, or by the pound, or by the foot. At one time customers were even PAID a nickel to take a book. Book Warehouse is remembered for its humorous print and television advertising featuring the owner with a tuba or a trombone. “We’ve had a lot of fun,” says King, “and we’ve sold well over ten million books, all at great prices. By any measure, that brought a lot of reading pleasure and a lot of savings for our customers.”
Book Warehouse will be selling all its stock and fixtures. The closing sale will be in full swing by Thursday March 15and will continue for several weeks. King says, “There is over a mile of books on our shelves – that’s a lot of books (and a lot of bookshelves!) to sell. We have to sell all of them, and we hope to be as outlandish and to have as much fun in our closing sale as we’ve ever had. Who knows what we’ll be doing as the weeks go on? We sort of forgot to stop ordering books, so our warehouse is jammed with thousands more books. We’ll keep putting them into the stores, which should give many opportunities for our customers to say their goodbyes to their favorite booksellers, and walk away with even more incredible bargains.
If you enjoy reading, check out one of their 4 locations. Act now as they have a lot of books on sale and will remain open until they are all sold.