Wednesday, February 03, 2010

A Wake for Duthie Books

Last month was a difficult month for book lovers in Vancouver. After 53 years in the business of books, Duthie Books Fourth Avenue announced it was going to close. Sadly, this type of occurrence happens way, way, way more often than it should.

To officially pay respects to the local bookseller, The Shebeen Club is hosting a wake to honour Duthie Books on February 15, 2010. Tickets are available online, and the price includes dinner and a drink. With proceeds going to the Strathcona One to One Literacy program, the event is likely to sell out in advance, so act quickly. See this blog for more info. This is not an official Alcuin event, but all book lovers are welcome to attend!

The Alcuin Society has held much respect for Duthies, and 3 years ago, the Society published a limited edition volume featuring fifty years of Duthie's bookmarks created by a who’s who of West Coast artists including Jack Shadbolt, Takao Tanabe, Celia King, Carel Moiseiwitsch and 20 others. This deluxe limited edition book has since sold out. For those who missed out on the book, we're pleased to announce we've just received word that Celia Duthie has agreed to reminisce and provide a potted history of Duthies at our upcoming AGM on June 14, 2010. Stay tuned for more info.

To conclude this post, here's an excerpt from the Duthie Books blog announcing the closure:
We have had 53 (mostly) happy years of bookselling in Vancouver. We have offered friendly recommendations, and stocked good books. For 53 years Duthies has provided a good book service to the city, championed BC and Canadian books, encouraged the public to read local writers, and helped to create a knowledgeable reading public. The book culture of Vancouver and BC has grown up and flourished around Duthies from publisher's reps to publishing houses , authors, illustrators, designers, printers, literary festivals, and university writing and publishing programs have emerged in the Duthies milieu and many Duthies alumni work in all parts of the book trade.

Thank you and Good bye

Everybody knows that Independent bookstores have been under pressure from the 'big box' operations for many years now and it is clear that it is not going to get any better; the likes of Chapters, and Amazon are ruthless in their drive for market share and we cannot compete on price anymore. The book itself is in the throes of a technological transformation and book readers undergoing a major demographic shift.

We are closing now while we can do so in an orderly fashion and not under any pressure from banks or suppliers. Duthies went through a radical restructuring 10 years ago and frankly, we do not want to go through that again.

Our last annual sale starts Thursday January 28 with 40% off everything and further reductions in the following weeks. Please use your gift certificates before the end of February.


  1. Anonymous8:31 PM

    Thanks for passing this along. It's a sad occasion, but we as a community won't let it pass unmarked.

    We are encouraging people to bring in their old Duthie bookmarks, and will photograph them for posterity.

  2. Thanks raincoaster for organizing the event; see you then!