books on the radio

Goodbye, Sophia Books! Vancouver Loses Another Independent
April 26, 2010, 4:07 PM
Filed under: Bookstore Showcase, Events, Industry Change | Tags: , ,

The legendary Sophia Books front window with reflection of the street.

My friends at Sophia Books are closing the doors on their amazing store in downtown Vancouver at then end of May 2010.

I have nothing but love and respect for Marc and Yuki Fournier, and all of my friends who work there.

It’s another heartbreaker for book lovers in Vancouver as Sophia represented the best and most unique selection of international art, graphic design, comix, fiction, non-fiction, manga and magazines not only in the city, the province – pretty much anywhere.

I went down there today and took as many pictures as I could of the store before my battery ran out.  Check out the Flickr Photo Stream or my Facebook photo album for more.

If you’re in Vancouver please go down to the store and check out this treasure of Vancouver’s disappearing book store culture while you can.

Sophia Books Spring MEGA Sale is Happening Now!
We are having a Mega Spring Sale !
30% off all books in stock !
(special orders, magazines and DVDs not included)
April 1st to 17th. In store shopping only.
(please note that we are closed on Easter day, April 4th)

French books, Spanish books, Italian books, German Books,
Japanese books, ESL books, Graphic design etc

Please pass along to friends that might be interested.


Grands Soldes du Printemps
30% de remise sur tous les livres en stock
(à l’exception des commandes spéciales, des DVD et des magazines)
Achats en personne seulement
Les soldes débutent le 1er avril et se termineront le 17 avril.
(veuillez noter que nous sommes fermés le jours de Paques, le 4 avril)

Livres en français, en espagnol, en italien, en allemand,
en japonais, ALS, arts visuels etc.
Faites passer le mot à ceux et celles qui pourraient être interessés .

Some Thoughts on the Closure of Duthie Books on 4th Avenue
January 19, 2010, 1:16 PM
Filed under: BC Booksellers Association, Bookstore Showcase | Tags: , ,

After 53 Years Duthie Books is Closing Their Doors. Photo by Jacek S.

Alright. It’s getting a little dusty in here.

I’m going thru the phases. First: Denial. Now: Crushing realizations. Some time later: Acceptance or something like it.

Here’s a letter that I just posted on Steven Beattie’s blog that sums up how I feel right now.

Sad news.

As someone who worked at the original Duthie’s flagship store in downtown Vancouver back in the 90’s it’s easy for me to say that this is sad news but it’s hard for me to say that this is terribly surprising news.

It was pretty clear from certain emanations that Cathy’s heart just wasn’t in it anymore and hadn’t been for quite some time.  And given the current industry/economic climate, that’s not hard to understand.

The writing on the wall was in very clear,  plain script. It wasn’t difficult to read.

I’m sure that Cathy has known for a long, long time that this day was coming and it must have been an incredibly agonizing decision for her to make.

It’s a very heavy legacy to put an end to.

It’s easy for people to point fingers at all of the usual suspects and get puffed up in a righteous rage about news like this but to me, one who worked there when the franchise was at its peak in the mid 90’s and who has friends who lost their jobs there today, I think it’s more honest to say that the train had simply reached the end of the line.

53 years is a long time and Cathy and Celia and Ria, my old buddy Mike Varty, Jane Sayers, Dina Del Bucchia, Susan Jahnke and everyone else that prowls those aisles should be proud of what they’ve done.

They should be happy that they’ve made such a huge impact on the culture of this city and even though the curtain is coming down on a legendary piece of Vancouver’s literary culture we have to believe that there are better days ahead of us.

All of us.

Thank you and best wishes to all of my friends who worked at Duthie Books over the years and to the Duthie family for making it so good while it lasted.

I’m going to go over there tomorrow and buy me some books.

The Famous Duthie Books on 4th Avenue Window. Photo by Szimek S.

Thomas Gammarino: Reading Big in Japan at Sophia Books

Click here to listen to Tom read from his debut novel Big in Japan at Sophia Books.

Great audio recording of Thomas Gammarino, author of Big in Japan: A Ghost Story, published by Chin Music Press, reading at Vancouver’s Sophia Books in mid-January.

Buy Big in Japan.

Great crowd, excellent story, it was lots of fun.

The entire Chin Music Crew came up from Seattle to support the event.

There was a full room, delicious sushi and sake and everyone trooped off for further food and drinks afterward.

An awesome reading with a great introduction by Sophia Books owner and resident maestro, Marc Fournier.

If you haven’t seen any Chin Music Press books please take a look at their website and if you live in a neighborhood with a good independent bookstore that knows their stuff, ask them if they have any Chin Music books.

Stay tuned for the Books on the Radio interviews with Tom, Bruce and Jennifer later this spring.

Sophia Books: Independent Bookstore Showcase #1

One of the features of the new Books on the Radio blog will be the Independent Bookstore Showcase.

This will be a chance to celebrate great indie bookstores and the people who make them so amazing.

Our first stop will be Sophia Books, the best independent bookstore in downtown Vancouver and one of the best in Canada.  Stay tuned!

Girl at Sophia Books