I received a gift card from Chapters for Christmas.
I was thankful for it.
It meant an annual pilgrimage to a store that has often brought alot of delight to me.
I remember when Chapters started: the novel idea that book lovers could be trusted with comfy armchairs and coffee in the same setting, put retail on its head.
The big box brand did make many small booksellers suffer and made finding some local titles more difficult, but the lure of a few hours spent browsing amongst the shelves was some consolation.
Chapters has had some problems of late and sadly it was pretty obvious when we walked into the store.
The Starbucks café was shuttered, permanently, it appeared.
Home décor and gifts that had been proliferating over the past decade had replaced many more book shelves. And, this could be because we were shopping in January, but even the giftware selection was sparse.
As I browsed through the book aisles, the selection seemed meagerly. In a smaller space, it might have been impressive.
Manfred wandered towards the magazine racks and came back asking “Didn’t they used to have lots of chairs to sit on?”
Publicly, Chapters has suffered a multi-million dollar loss because of a hacking crime. Recently, retired CEO Heather Reisman has returned to right the ship. I give her credit for returning at 75 years of age to salvage her dream corporation.
I don’t mean to slag off Chapters and wish them all the best, but next time, I will think a little harder when someone asks me what I want for Christmas.
I plan to remember that the neat little bookshop in our local city has gift cards and I will be making that request my new tradition.
I needed a Virgin Caesar after my book shopping.
P.S. Always think local first. It’s something I preach, but sometimes forget.