5 questions with Michael Higgins of Lunenburg Bound Books

Welcome to the second installment of 5 questions with, our Q&A series where we take a look a modern bookselling practices in Canada by interviewing the people you can buy books from.

Bricks-and-mortar booksellers are the ones responsible for matching customers to the perfect titles, and quite frequently, they must do this for readers they know nothing about.

"I'm looking for a gift for my mom's neighbour's sister. I don't know anything about her, but I know she likes books. What would you recommend?"

Every day they perform spectacular miracles that are often under-appreciated or altogether unnoticed.

"I'm looking for a book that was in the paper 8 weeks ago. I think it had a red cover..."

Essentially, without booksellers, the world would be a much darker place. They are the ones keeping independent bookstores alive and thriving. So, without further ado, meet Michael Higgins, the owner of Lunenburg Bound!

 From right to left: Ned, Michael Higgins. (Michael Higgins not pictured)

From right to left: Ned, Michael Higgins. (Michael Higgins not pictured)

Lunenburg Bound: Books & Paper

Lunenburg Bound is located in the heart of old town Lunenburg, Nova Scotia and is open Monday through Sunday. They sell both new and used books, decorative paper, and coffee. It was opened by the one and only Michael Higgins in the spring of 2015. Before that, Michael Higgins was an accomplished boat builder. He was preparing to leave for a job in Bermuda when he realized he didn't actually want to go, and instead switched career paths and opened Lunenburg Bound. It's now a neighbourhood staple, and a reliable source for nautical titles and contemporary fiction.

1. Which author would you most like to have for an event in your store (living or dead)? 

Arthur Ransome

2. What attracted you to bookselling? 

I had been (for almost 30 years) a boat builder and woodworker, which was a deeply romantic and financially insecure way to earn my living, so I thought I would be right at home selling books, and I have always loved being in a bookshop.

3. What's your favourite bookselling war story? 

Just the other day Jennifer, who also works at Lunenburg Bound Books, was approached by a customer who said he had been looking for years for a specific old book. We happened to have a copy in great condition for just $14.95. The customer was thrilled, but when he came to the cash to pay asked, "What is the best price you can offer it to me for?” Jennifer said $15.95, and when he protested Jennifer said $16.95. I only wish Jennifer had refused to sell him the book, but in the end he bought it.

4. What is the most pressing issue facing bookselling today? 

I am optimistic these days. We have great customers and more and more publishers are realizing that little independents are a key part of the book ecosystem. I would only encourage anyone looking for a book to visit a bookstore before looking online.

5. Last but not least, we want to know: what forthcoming book are you most excited about? 

We are really looking forward to Lezlie Lowe’s No Place To Go: How Public Toilets Fail our Private Needs.

Previously in this series, we introduced you to Another Story Bookshop's Sarah Ramsey.