Dundurn Authors Give a Shout Out to Indies

Dundurn Authors Give a Shout Out to Indies

Posted on April 26 by AliciaE in Interview
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In celebration of Canadian Independent Bookstore Day on April 28, 2018, we asked Dundurn authors to tell us about their favourite Indie by answering two questions:

  1. 1. What local independent bookstore would you like to give a shout out to?
  2. 2. Can you share an experience you've had with this bookseller, or at this bookstore?

Keep reading to find a great Indie bookstore near you!


McNally Robinson Booksellers, Saskatoon

It is well known in the local writing community that this bookstore goes above and beyond in support of local writers. They work tirelessly to showcase new work and to make book launches and readings a success. The spirit of this store and its staff reverberates from the second you walk through the doors. These are people who exemplify passion for literature, and the local writing community is so grateful for them!

In this world of corporate upsizing, the independent bookstore must work even harder to exist; it has never been more relevant to have a place where one can feed their passion and soul among a community of like-minded bibliophiles. A place where one can feel a sense of community through a shared love of words. As authors, we are also creating community through our books, and what better place to share our labours of love than in this sacred collective space.

— Kristine Scarrow, author of The 11th Hour, If This is Home, and Throwaway Girl


Novel Idea Kingston, Ontario

Oscar Malan, who owns Novel Idea, is a promoter of authors and their works. His store is in downtown Kingston in a heritage storefront, which, with his guidance, has outlasted all the major chain book stores as they have one time or another made their way through his area on main street in Kingston. Oscar hosted my first book signing when I was an unknown author. One day I walked into his store, introduced myself, and asked, “Would you be interested in hosting a book release for my first novel, I Am Algonquin?" All Oscar said was, "When do you want to do it, and do you want me to supply the wine and cheese?" (Which he did, at his own expense.) The book signing was a success, and Oscar has hosted each initial book signing release event for the other books in the Algonquin Quest Series, always providing his famous homemade wine, cheese and crackers, and sandwiches. His wine and cheese is so sought after that some people come just for his delectable food, beverages, and the conversation with all the wordsmiths who gather. Novel Idea is the starting point for all authors in Kingston. In fact, if you do not start at Novel Idea, chances are you will not get that magical touch of literary luck that is needed to continue into the rest of Canada.

Indie bookstores are the heartbeat of Canadian literature. There is nothing more Canadian than walking into an Indie bookstore in a small town anyplace in Canada and talking to the owner and getting the lowdown on the local authors and what they have written. The people in indie stores have the time to talk to you and share their love of books with you, and to lead you in the direction that maybe you were not quite sure you wanted to go. They have that uncanny sense to know what you want, without you even knowing what it is you are really looking for. When you walk into an indie store in the larger centers, you will find yourself walking into the comfortable setting of your grandmother’s home, where all that hustle and bustle out that front door is a muted memory, and a nice comfortable chair awaits you with a sincere smile of welcome.

— Rick Revelle, author of Algonquin Sunset, Algonquin Spring, and I Am Algonquin


I spent my Saturday afternoons as a teen combing through the books here (and flipping through vinyl at Brian's Record Option and Turks). When a major national book chain opened about two blocks away, I was worried Novel Idea wouldn't survive. Twenty years later, they're still there on Kingston's main street. The national chain checked out a few years back.

Shopping at an indie versus at a big chain is the difference between seeing a movie in a theatre versus watching it on your laptop. Both are fine, but they are indisputably different.  As an author, I love the thought of someone intentionally going to a bookstore to carefully choose a book, and they choose mine. It's a much nicer fantasy than imagining someone going for a latte and then grabbing my book while he's there because he's got to get something for his boss and his boss likes memes or whatever.

— JC Villamere, author of Is Canada Even Real?


BookLore, Orangeville, Ontario

Nancy Frater of BookLore organized the first "Orangeville Reads" in 2009. The book chosen was Lawrence Hill's The Book of Negroes. As a local author, I was invited to help out. The event became a huge success and continues as the "One Book One County: Dufferin Reads," covering all of Dufferin County.

Indie book stores know the local market, and can connect books directly to a local community's interests.

— Peter Meyler, author of A Stolen Life and Broken Shackles


A Different Drummer, Ontario

Although I was the editor of a not so recent book (Worth Travelling Miles to See), I was included in the authors day events at my local bookstore. On enquiring about the event, I found that my bookseller was already aware of my book. My family enjoyed the experience too! Some bought books as well.

The value of personalized service to authors and customers can’t be underestimated. Talks and musical events round out a most appealing arts experience.

— Lorene DiCorpo, editor of Worth Travelling Miles to See


Since moving to Burlington, Ian has made me welcome as a customer and, most of all, as an author. He has hosted my launches and provided stock for my presentations. He is a kind and generous Indie!!

Indie bookstores mean books, not gifts, wrapping paper, and toys. Indie bookstores mean the staff knows books and can recommend others in the same genre or a new kind of volume that would catch your fancy. Indie bookstores have personality, hold launches and readings, and look after their customers and authors with consideration and care.

— Jennifer Maruno, author of Cherry Blossom Winter, Kid Soldier, Cherry Blossom Baseball, Totem, Warbird, and When the Cherry Blossoms Fell


Mulberry Bush Bookstore, British Columbia

My first contact came after both owners, Tom and Barb Pope, read my novel Bird's Eye View and invited me to come for a book signing on Authors for Indies Day in 2015. The following year, they invited me to be their featured author at an event they created specifically for book club members. Now that my second novel, Wildwood, has been released, they are promoting it to their friends and followers on Vancouver Island. They are just lovely people.

Indie bookstores allow readers to create and maintain a personal relationship with the owners and staff, who can recommend books for them. It's a boutique shopping experience, with a personal touch that is often lacking in the big box stores. When indie bookstores recommend my books, I know they will be read.

— Elinor Florence, author of Wildwood and Bird’s Eye View


Vancouver Kidsbooks, British Columbia

Vancouver Kidsbooks is always so supportive of local authors, and always have absolutely top customer service.

They make shopping for books a richer, more personal experience. It would be no less than a tragedy to lose them.

— Pam Withers, author of Stowaway and Tracker’s Canyon


McNally Robinson Booksellers, Winnipeg

For decades of my life, a trip to McNally Robinson meant I was giving myself a treat. I always relaxed as I walked through the doors, confident I'd find several books I wanted to read, and comforted by the presence of the huge tree at the centre of the store. Recently, they hosted a book launch for my book, Co-Parenting from the Inside Out, interacting warmly with me, giving me excellent local exposure, and generally making it work very well.

Indie bookstores mean authors are not totally at the mercy of book chains that often make purchasing decisions far from where the authors live and write.

— Karen Kristjanson, author of Co-Parenting from the Inside Out


Ben McNally Books, Toronto

I've had several launches here and attended the launches of several other writers too – it's a lovely venue to celebrate and shop at, and is owned and operated by lovely people.

The best indie bookstores bring the personal and well-informed touch to bookselling, and give avid readers a comfortable and inspiring place to find a good book.

— Kim Moritsugu, author of The Showrunner, The Oakdale Dinner Club, The Restoration of Emily, and The Glenwood Treasure