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Two iconic bookstores will be closing their doors in early 2014 in Toronto

Chapters Runnymede
Chapters Runnymede

It was announced recently that two iconic Chapters stores will be closing in Toronto: Chapters Runnymede and The World’s Biggest Book Store.

The building where Chapters Runnymede is located used to be a movie theatre. It was built in 1927, and the exterior and interior have been preserved to house the bookstore. It is a beautiful place, and I remember spending many hours browsing the shelves and admiring the decor. I used to live just a few blocks away from the store, and I have fond memories of it. It is rumored that a Shoppers Drug Mart will take its place. They will be bound to keep the exterior intact because it is a historic building, but will they keep the interior as it is now?

World's Biggest Bookstore
World’s Biggest Bookstore

The World’s Biggest Book Store will also be closing soon. This is where I met one of my favorite authors, Diana Gabaldon, and where I used to go after a day shopping at the Eaton Centre. The store has been open for 33 years, and it has been a landmark of downtown Toronto. This reminds me of the closing of the Yonge Street location of Sam the Record Man in 2007, another iconic place around the corner from The World’s Biggest Book Store. So very sad…

That a big chain like Chapters has to close down these two stores is very telling about the state of the book selling industry. In fact, if you go to the remaining Chapters stores, you will notice that more than half of each location is dedicated to gifts and toys. Is this a result of the digital age, or are people buying less books? All I know is that it breaks my heart to see bookstores closing…