Podcast: Innovative bookselling, part 3: More than a bookstore

For the third and final episode in our summer series on innovative bookselling (see the first episode and the second episode at the links), we talk with bookstores who are findings ways to go beyond their core mandate of selling books. From school competitions to singles nights, they're finding creative ways to engage with their communities. We also have a segment with highlights from our new, free study, What's in Store: The State of Independent Bookselling in Canada 2018 .

In this episode of the @BookNet_Canada podcast, bookstores who are going beyond their core mandate of selling books. From school competitions to singles nights, they're finding creative ways to engage with their communities.
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Transcript

Zalina Alvi: Hello, and welcome to the "BookNet Canada Podcast." I'm your host, Zalina Alvi, and this month we're concluding our innovative series on innovative bookselling with a look at bookstores that are more than just bookstores. They're meeting places, cinemas, restaurants, cultural hubs, and the list goes on. Before we get into those conversations, though, it's worth noting that there was a pervasive myth that indie booksellers survive off the sale of non-book items and events and that being a bookstore is not what actually keeps their businesses afloat.

We asked about this in our recent survey of indie booksellers, and the results, which were just published in a new report, "What's in Store," paint a different picture. In 2018, 68% of the revenue generated by indie bookstores in Canada came from the sale of books. And what's more, frontlist titles made up 37% of total merchandise revenue, and backlist titles made up 31%. So, yeah, indie bookstores sell books. If you're interested in hearing more about the results from that study, stay tuned for a segment from our research associate, Shimona Hirchberg, a little later in the episode. You can also find a link in the episode notes to the full report, which is available for free on our website.

So, with all that being said, let's get to those bookstores. First up, we have Stephanie Minett from The Bookshelf in Guelph. You might remember her from the previous episode. The Bookshelf really does it all. They're a resto-bar, a cinema, they host a community podcast, and they even have a membership program. Here's Stephanie to share how they all work together.

Stephanie Minett: So the bookstore is on the main floor, and we did previously have the ownership of the restaurant next door, but we instead have another company who rents it there. But we have a kind of a cooperative relationship with them. And then upstairs we have an independent cinema, a small kitchen, fresh dining space, and an event space that hosts everything from live music and poetry slams to burlesque shows and book events. And all of those things happen in our one building.

Zalina: So like a very exciting, fun spot. There's something for everyone.

Stephanie: Yes, we try to be as open to both community suggestion and to our own imaginations as possible.

Zalina: And you have a membership card. Is that correct?

Stephanie: Yes. So it's $20 for an individual membership, and it's, I think, $35 for a family membership, which includes two adults and two children. And what the membership includes, at this point, is $3 off of admission to the cinema, as well as 10% off of books in the bookstore, and discounted price on some Bookshelf events. So that includes, you know, things that are happening in the eBar. We do charge for author events upstairs, and so people with memberships receive a discounted price on admission.

Zalina: And how has the program been working for you? Has it been a successful initiative?

Stephanie: Absolutely. We also have been extending free memberships to students, both secondary school students and post secondary. And so we've handed out lots of free memberships to young people who have been coming through and just curious about what we're doing and saying, "Hey, we're happy to have you here, and please take advantage of what we offer," because we're really happy to, you know, encourage anyone, like, any young people who are interested in books, in culture, just try to be a part of what we're doing.

Zalina: And you have a podcast called "The Village," I understand it.

Stephanie: That's correct. Yeah.

Zalina: Yeah. So how does that fit into everything else that you're doing?

Stephanie: For "The Village Podcast," a few years ago, it was actually an initiative of kind of a friend of The Bookshelf, a woman who's been coming here for some time and who has done other podcasts herself and with others. And she was curious as to why we didn't have one yet. And we were kind of like, well, we didn't know we should have one because, you know, no one in the building has, to their mind, the tech savvy to get something like that started. And we didn't really know where to begin with it. So she, Candice Lepage, approached us and said that she, like, you know, if somebody's interested in doing one, she'd be happy to cohost and do the editing and the tech side of it.

So on a monthly basis, she comes in and she and I sit down, and we talk about things that are happening in the building, as well as other culturally, politically, or otherwise significant events. Sometimes it's more of a personal angle. Other times, it's certainly, like, pulled from the headlines or just coming out of the things that we're reading and watching and kind of involving ourselves in.

Zalina: Can you share a little bit about how important it is to The Bookshelf to just be integrated in the community, being really part of it?

Stephanie: We are pretty much, uh… A lot of people come in and say that they were told the minute that they move here to come, you know, from Guelph, to come into The Bookshelf and see what's going on here because there's always new and interesting things, and a lot of it is reflecting Guelph's local scene, whether it be musical, artistic, literary, or otherwise. And we have, you know, even people coming in on a regular basis asking us for directions to go somewhere else or asking us… It's almost like a tourist information centre and saying, "Oh, where would you go for Thai?" and things like that, too. It's the sort of place that people feel they can come in and get kind of a feel for what Guelph is about and not just about what our business does because so many local people see us as kind of a centre for information as much as for entertainment or culture.

Zalina: So it's not a bad position to be in, the heart and brains of the town.

Stephanie: We like to think so, without getting too big-headed about it. We work a lot with other community groups, too. So it's certainly not a one-group effort. We do a lot of collaborations with the University of Guelph. We've been partnering with many members of queer communities, of the indigenous communities in Guelph, have approached us and we've been doing some monthly events with them and have lots of really great connections within those groups. And we're always expanding trying to reach out to more schools and more people, like, because we know that having a central place where people can congregate and learn more about what difference groups in the community are doing, be easier just to spread that information and to share those parts of the community with everyone else.

Zalina: Next up, we have Woozles, Canada's oldest children's bookstore in Halifax, which hosts the Battle of the Books competition that turns their bookstore into a battleground, but a nice one that supports the love of reading. Here's Nadine King to explain how it works and why they've been doing it since 1986.

Nadine King: So Battle of the Books is a program that Woozles has been running for quite some time now since, certainly, the first decade or so of Woozles' life. And this has always been called that, Battle of the Books. It's a school-based competition. Woozles sets a reading list, and we do two different lists, what we call an elementary list and a teen list. And the elementary list is intended for students in grades 4 to 6, and the other list, the teen list, is aimed at students who are in junior high or high school, so grade 7 to 9 or even 10 to 12.

And so we come up with a list of books. Our co-manager, Lisa, is the skillful organizer of that, and we do try to, as on our reading list and our order form, we indicate that we do try to do a good mixture of different genres of books, you know, showcasing diverse books wherever possible, Canadian authors as well, is a real attempt by us to make sure we include Canadian content and set the reading list. And then we have a group of people that help us make questions, and it's a Jeopardy style question. "In what book do you such-and-such?" And the kids answer with the answer of the title of the book and the author. So that's how you answer each question, and they compete in teams of four. And there's playoffs, down to a final as well.

Zalina: All of this happens in the store itself? Is that right?

Nadine: It does, yes. We have had some games offsite. Because the games take place in the wintertime, there have been occasions where if we have teams from… There are some teams that drive from about an hour or so away. In the wintertime, we can get with stuck with, you know, school cancellations and some things like that. And sometimes, just for scheduling purposes, we need to move things along with maybe a game that's held between a couple of teams that are elsewhere. And we send them the questions, and then they oversee the game. So that sometimes happens, but for the most part the games are, you know, here at Woozles.

Zalina: And do you have partners that you work with who help, maybe, with like sponsoring prizes and things like that?

Nadine: The publisher to offer prizes, you say?

Zalina: Or other kind of support.

Nadine: It's Woozles that does it. We do have support of some publishers to offer prizes at the very end of the competition, so when the final game is played and we have book prizes to offer. There are some publishers that participate in donating some prizes that we can give to the winning team. But, otherwise, it is something that is run 100% by Woozles.

Zalina: Well, there seem to be some clear benefits to the community, the schools, the kids participating, you know, encouraging the joy of reading and, like, rewarding teamwork and cooperation, all that good stuff. But I'm kind of curious just about, like, the return on investment for the store. Like, does it benefit your bottom line in any way?

Nadine: It can. We don't require…We want to make sure that there's a kind of a team competition available to kids who maybe don't go out for sports teams and that kind of thing, but they can still experience a team event by participating in Battle of the Books. That is one of the things that we think is pretty great, and we do always hear really good feedback about how much the kids are reading books that they might not otherwise come across in school or elsewhere in their reading because we do choose a really unique kind of balanced list.

So we hear very positive comments about that, positive comments about the competition aspect, positive comments on how somebody's reading has taken off. So they're all terrific things that help support literacy, again, with young people. So, yes, it does help us. We don't require that a school purchase the books through Woozles if they have another store they want to support or something like that. You know, we don't stop anyone from participating. Obviously, we love it if they do want to buy the books here at the store.

Our public library also makes sure that they have the books in their collections, so that if schools can only purchase some of them, perhaps… or we even have independent teams as well that participate who aren't buying a full set, but they can still turn to the library and access the books that way. So we want to encourage reading. We want to encourage team play. And that trumps all the rest of it.

Zalina: Let's take a quick break now for the next segment on the bookselling study that I mentioned earlier. Here's Shimona to give you an overview of the average indie bookseller in Canada.

Shimona Hirchberg: Hi, I'm Shimona Hirchberg, the research associate at BookNet Canada. I worked on BookNet's first bookselling survey on study which is linked in the episode notes. I want to start with giving a short overview of the survey and its respondents before diving into the highlights. The inaugural bookselling survey was fielded online to booksellers across Canada in early 2019. Of the final 63 respondents, more than one quarter of stores describe themselves as a scholarly or education store, a used bookstore, a gift store, a combination of those, or something else. The majority of respondents describe themselves as a indie general interest or indie specialty store.

Some quick facts about the respondents. Sixty-eight percent of stores have been in business for 15 or more years. Almost three quarters of bookstores lease their spaces, and one third of respondents weren't a member of any publishing, business, or retail associations in 2018. Let's start with our bookstore's potential customer entering a store. Let's call him Sid. What's the in-store accessibility situation for Sid?

About 9 in 10 stores currently have wide aisles for a wheelchair, a walker, or a stroller while about 6 in 10 stores have visible and concise wayfinding signage. So they're good. Sid wants to find a recently published French book by a Canadian author on the best seller list in large print. They can't see it on a cursory glance around the store, so they head to the staffer shelving books. The staffer's name tag says Morgan, who's a permanent staffer working part-time.

Our study found that 72% of staff are permanent staff and 55% of employees were part-time. Morgan may leave the bookstore for a job with a higher salary. Fifty-two percent of bookstores found it challenging to retain staff because of difficulties offering competitive compensation. But Morgan is in the store today and knows where the books that are in English are stocked. Slightly more than two thirds of booksellers stock in languages other than English. And among those booksellers, all of them stock French books or products. On average, booksellers tend to stock most of their Canadian author titles within their adult fiction and adult nonfiction inventories.

Fifty-one percent of all bookstores sell large print books. Luckily for Sid, Morgan's bookstore is one of them. Morgan and Sid reach the display where the book is. It's a staff pick. Our studies show that the highest positive ROIs experience with print or physical advertising came from staff picks, 81%, and then indoor displays, 79%. And selling books in-store was the most efficient sales and marketing process. Tellingly, Sid ended up buying that book and used a teacher discount which is offered by 74% of bookstores, before heading back out into the summer day.

Summer months are a peak time for booksellers, second after winter. Sid's in-store purchase is part of where bookstores get most of their revenue from, both in this fake case study and our real study results. The average independent bookstore derived about 87% of its 2018 revenue from in-store purchases across all product categories. New frontlist books, like the one Sid bought, makes up the largest percentage of merchandise revenue, which works out since slightly more than half of a bookseller's expenses goes towards purchasing inventory. And of those inventory expenses, the majority gets spent on new books. You can read the full story for more details on store accessibility features, employment statuses, staff hiring and training, inventory and operational expenses, revenue, sales and marketing, promotions, industry perceptions, and more.

I'll close out the highlights with a quote from a respondent. "Keep it real. Put customers first always. Try new things. Don't get caught up in fancy technology to the extent that it impacts staff time to relate to customers. And keep systems simple, but make sure staff are all on the same page and consistent with implementing them." Thanks for listening. Back to Zalina.

Zalina: Speaking of putting customers first, Bolen Books in Victoria, BC puts a ton of effort into organizing creative events for the people in their community. One look at their list of Facebook events will prove that to you, but you could also hear about it right here from their promotions and event coordinator, Vaughn Naylor.

Vaughn Naylor: You know, we've been around. We're just entering our 45th year, and we focus on author events primarily. And just in the last year, we've really started opening up with things like singles nights. We had an open mic night recently. We're going to be doing a puzzle competition coming up. This is going to be our third puzzle competition that we've had, and we actually also did a drag panel recently featuring three local drag kings.

Zalina: That's quite the breadth of events. Can you tell me, what is the puzzle competition exactly?

Vaughn: Right. So the puzzle competition. We got inspired by that because there was actually recently a film, I think last year, that was released about puzzle competitions. And it made us think, "Well, we have puzzles. Why don't we have a puzzle competition?" So what we do is we invite, this time it's 35 teams, anywhere between 30 and 40 teams to do the exact same 1,000-piece puzzle within the allotted time. And then we will give the first, second, and third place winners prizes, depending on their placement. And we've done this, like I said, it's going to be our third. And every time we're kind of pushing the hours down a little bit because everyone here is so good at doing 1,000-piece puzzles.

Zalina: So what would you say is the longest-running kind of outside the box, non-traditional book event that you've been running or that you have had running at the store?

Vaughn: You know what? I actually want to say that it's the puzzle competitions, and I only want to say that because I've held this position, the event planning position, for only about two and a half, three years now. And I know before that, I can't think of any kind of sort of weird outside of the box things. Normally, we would do really big name author events, you know, that would bring in like 1,000 people into the store, right. And that would be like the big thing for the year, but we're kind of leaning away from that. Like I said, we really want to increase the amount of community events that we have, like the puzzle competition. So I actually want to say that the puzzle competition is probably, at least at this point, one of the ones that has been most consistently happening that's out of the box.

Zalina: So how much of your resources would you say you invest into these events and if you have an idea of what your return on investment is?

Vaughn: Right. Well, that's an interesting question because we always try to… I mean, of course, we want to make every event amazing, and beautiful, and incredible. And so we do put a lot of effort into making them comfortable, not only for our audience, but for the authors as well. And so that means a lot of communication with regards to what they'll need. Sometimes, an author will need a podium with two microphones, for whatever reason, and then they'll also need, you know, something for PowerPoint. And then also need the table for signing, but then they'll also need 100 chairs, for instance, because they're a big name.

And so because we are sort of at the heart of our community and because we've been around for 45 years, we have these incredible connections throughout the city that we can pull from. And as a result from the effort that we put into these events, the return on those will often be… We will get new customers who maybe haven't come to our store but have come and they see, "Wow, this is amazing. You know, they want us to have a good time with these authors, and so I want to give them my support." But then on the other side, publishers will see that, and they'll say, "Well, they want to make our event successful, and they really want to put effort into that." And so the return isn't always necessarily, you know, sales numbers, per se, but the return is also what we get from the community as a whole.

Zalina: And you've mentioned that the public competition is probably the most consistently run, but has that been the most successful for you? And I guess that depends on how you're actually gauging success. I mean, you mentioned gauging the community. So how would you gauge that, and what would you say is the most successful?

Vaughn: Yeah, it definitely differs from even to event. I mean, the puzzle competition is always a bit of a surprise because we'll put up the notice saying, "Hey, get your teams in now. RSVP." And within like a week, we'll have filled up the entire roster. And that's like a month and a half off of the competition, right. And so people are just right on top of it because we have such an avid, puzzling community. But then on the other side, we have things like our singles night, and we've had a few of those.

And our last one was really successful. We had, I think, something like 80 people there, and we managed to make connections between people. We managed to reconnect old friends. But then, before that, the one that we had before, there was a surprise blizzard on the night of our singles night, which meant that instead of 80 people we had 20 people, right. So you'd think that we wouldn't look at that and say, oh, that wasn't a successful event, but at the same time, everyone that was there had such a good time. We had a line dancing teacher in to have fun with them. We had karaoke at that particular one, and even within those 20 people, we still managed to connect new friends, old friends, and even some people met and… I mean, I don't know if they hit it off, but I definitely know that they left together.

And so even though there wasn't that many people there, we'd still look at that and say, well, that's successful because we engaged our community in a way that, you know, it connected people with like minds. And it connected old friends and everything. So that's one of those situations where even though it's not great numbers-wise, we'd look at that and we'd say, "Yeah, you know what? That went well despite everything."

Zalina: Well, you've touched on this a little bit already, but can you go a little bit more into how important would you say it is for a bookstore, your bookstore, especially indie bookstores to be a community hub?

Vaughn: Oh, wow. I think it's incredibly important. I mean, if you look at the… I think not just with our bookstore, but any bookstore. And, I mean, there was actually recently an article about libraries that sort of touches on this too, how we are kind of like centres for… What's the word that I'm looking for? I work in a bookstore, and I'm always searching for words. We're kind of like a heart of the community where people that don't necessarily have other places to go can go.

So, I mean, we have a big deaf community around our store, and they feel comfortable coming in because within our very diverse staff we have members that can speak in sign language with them. And so they feel very comfortable being able to come in and, you know, have a place where they are supported and where they are encouraged to be who they are. And that also extends towards the LGBTQ community, towards any minority you can think of, really, because we work around so many ideas and so many concepts. We like to say that reading banishes ignorance, and so we like to sort of set all of our judgment aside. And anyone that comes in through our doors we welcome with open arms. I think that's what makes indie bookstores really special and really important for communities because they connect so many different groups of people that normally maybe wouldn't even, you know, cross paths.

Like I said, in our 45th year and, you know, having gone through everything, we're starting to really open our… We're trying to open up our scope here, and so, like I said, we even had like a drag panel, right. So I'm going to say a big thing with the events, especially in publishing, is that it can be very competitive. And so part of my job is not only accepting and, you know, trying to get authors into the store but also having to turn a lot of authors down, which is always unfortunate. And if we could have every event, we obviously would but, like I said, it's very competitive. But because we're looking outside of the box, that's also opened up the opportunity to have events that we normally might not.

So, for instance, we had a drag panel, like I said, and that was for a YA book. And, normally, our YA events aren't as well attended, which is unfortunate, but it's just how it goes. But for this one, the author of this book, she happened to have been a drag king in her youth. And I thought, well, that's an incredible opportunity to have the author come in and talk about her experience as it relates to her book about drag kings and queens and the LGBTQ community, but also to offer our community the opportunity to meet drag kings within our community, our Victoria community. And so because we're looking outside of the box, we're opening up the opportunities for more authors as well, not just, you know, general community events but for things they wouldn’t… authors that they wouldn't normally get to meet.

Zalina: Don't you find it's a lot of regular… I mean, it's hard when you have 1,500 people or 300 people, even, coming to really gauge the makeup of the people, but is it a lot of, like, regular, like, hardcore, like, Bolen fans, or are you really getting in just people who'd happen to be interested in a particular topic, an author popping in for an event, who maybe they've never stepped a foot in the store before?

Vaughn: In some cases, yes. We recently had Geddy Lee in the store, and that brought in 500 people. And, for that one, because he is… I mean, he's an incredible musician, a part of an amazing Canadian rock band, right. And so, in that case, I think there was a lot of people in the store that maybe, like you said, haven't even set foot in the store because they listen to music. They don't necessarily read, for all we know, right? I mean, hopefully they all read, but no judgement if they don't. And so, in that case, you know, we saw a lot of people coming in and buying this incredible, huge… It's like a $90 coffee book full of just his, Geddy Lee's collection of bass guitars, right.

And we were looking at them and saying, okay, so, you know, how many of these people would, say, walk through the fiction section and pick up a fiction book as opposed to just, you know, walking through the music section and pick up this book because it's Geddy Lee? But then we have to consider, you know, I mean, even if none of those people would go through the fiction section and pick up a fiction book, we're still at least giving them an opportunity to meet someone that they idolize, someone that they love, to take home something that they're going to cherish. And even if they don't read as avidly as the next person, they've at least got it in their brain that we're not just a bookstore. We'll bring in astronauts for them to meet. We'll bring in rockstars for them to meet. We'll bring in any number of people. If our community wants them, we want to try and bring them to them, if that makes sense.

Zalina: Last, but not least, Toronto's A Different Booklist is both a bookstore and a cultural centre. Called the people's residence, the centre is a nonprofit hub, destination, and space dedicated to the intellectual and cultural experience of people of African and Caribbean ancestry. Here's Itah Sadu, who you should remember from last month's episode, talking about how it's all part of the role of an independent bookstore.

Itah Sadu: Every single thing in the world has a book that's connected with it, and so, by default, bookstores are always engaged. And when you come out to a community of African descent, they're always, unlike most communities, but in… And let me speak to the community of African descent or the community of Caribbean ancestry. There are always things, unique moments that we celebrate, unique aspects of our histories. So I'm going to even use a unique one, for example.

We celebrate or we have a thing called Patty Day and Doubles Day. They're two snacks and foods that come out of Caribbean culture. And those snacks themselves come out of an intersection of Afro, of Asian, of Creole experience. However, there are two snacks out of the Caribbean region that have made it into the international language of fast food. That's incredible. You go to Cambodia, people kind of understand a patty or might even think, will know where a patty is related to, or jerk chicken, or any of those kind of things.

But in celebrating Doubles Day or Patty Day, at the same time, we are not only speaking to culture, but we're also speaking to an economic role that we play within a given society. And therein lies the power of bookstores, of independent bookstores. Community hubs are not new in our experience because in the absence of buildings and infrastructure, and places of gatherings, and museums, and cultural centres, and all these things, wherever people of African descent have gone, whether it's the barbershop, the beauty salon, the church basement, we've always created cultural hubs.

So sometimes we smile at this whole buzz thing that people, you know, hubs, hubs, hubs. It sounds so sexy and in vogue, but that's been very much part of our language in our experience over the years. And so with the bookstore, you are also in a tradition of how spaces are carved or created and, at the same time, providing that very essential meeting place where people can think, I can come and speak freely, or I can come and say things and I'm understood, I don't feel ridiculed because I have an accent, all of those kind of things.

Zalina: Other bookstores do this in various ways. Like, they act as a community hub or a cultural hub, but A Different Booklist seems to really lean into that and made that like a very forward-facing part of your whole mandate. I mean, it's in the name, cultural centre, and everything. So is that kind of part of your approach to bookselling, to make the foreground that aspect of the space?

Itah: What we did is, I'd like to think, that the bookstore was the root of something. And then out of that root, people or — I'll put it this way. At 746 Baptist Street, when we were located there, we were a physical address, 746. And then people came and created a physical place into a space where they imagined many things. And when we moved, we moved with the idea of a model. As we looked at the trajectory of independent bookstores and the challenges that they face, we also entertained the idea that we were in part of the Mirvish Village, which is now the new Westbank development, and that is gentrification. And, therefore, how do we respond to that?

So there were the two salient things that captured our imagination. And as we listen to the people, they suggested to us that we were a cultural centre or, I should say, they affirmed that in language, in writing, in ideas and advice. And then we determined that in building a cultural centre and making it that entity, how can that cultural centre be sustainable and what would be the role of the bookstore? And so in the model we created, we made the bookstore a tenant of the space because when a society or a community can showcase its intellectual property, can speak to its intellectual legacy, can present its documentation and its documented narratives, then another level of a respect, another level of integrity is added onto that institution.

And so it was important for us that the intellectual legacy, the writing, the authorship, all of that stuff that goes into a bookstore be maintained, but now that business can be used to support the operations of a cultural centre with a specific mandate in highlighting the histories of people of African and Caribbean ancestry in the Bathurst-Bloor Annex neighbourhood. Again, moving two interconnected ideas together, but also, too, beginning to create a model where, with the cultural centre, other entities of engagement that can lead to sustainability. That's what we are looking at. What are those things that we can surround the centre and that cultural aspect of the centre that will compliment it but, at the same time, will sustain it?

And at the end of the day, when we look at history, we will go back to printers. And back in the day, you went to a printery. It printed books, it bounded books. It did all of that. And then somebody came and said, "Hey, thank you for binding my book of poetry, but I'd like now to come and present poetry," and the people say, "Okay." So now the printer has gone to be a performance space. And then somebody says, "You know what? We need to have something to drink," and somebody says, "Give me coffee and tea or something strong." And so now extension now, a reception, or a bar, or something of that nature now comes into the conversation.

And then somebody says, "You know what? I'm going to have 30, 40 people coming out to my poetry reading," and suddenly now you have an audience, and you have a performance space. But then, in history, we became specialized, and then we got in to be distributors and publishers. And all of those things that took place in the printery then became very specialized. So in a kind of a way with technology and all the other changes within the publishing sector, we are almost forced to revisit history again to see the multiple roles that a bookstore, a printshop would offer. And what is it of the past that you can build on? And what is it that you can innovate that would sustain itself in the future.

Zalina: Thanks to Stephanie, Nadine, Shimona, Vaughn, and Itah for speaking with me for this month's episode. You can find links to other bookstores in the episode notes. There's also that link we mentioned earlier to the full "What's in Store" study, which you can read for free on our website. I'd also like to take a moment to acknowledge the BookNet Canada staff, board, partners, and our makeshift podcast studio, operate upon the traditional territories of the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation, the Anishinaabe, the Haudenosaunee, Wendat, and Huron indigenous peoples, the original nations of this land. We endorse the calls to action from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada and support an ongoing shift from gatekeeping to space-making in the book industry. And we hope that our work, including this podcast, helps to create an environment that supports that shift. We'd also like to acknowledge the Government of Canada for their financial support to the Canada Book Fund. And of course, thanks to you for listening.