True, Indigo Books & Music looks relatively healthy. Because it has the dominant share of the Canadian market, it has not had to offer bestsellers at deep discounts or the rewards programs that are putting U.S. retailers on the financial skids. Its fourth-quarter revenue climbed six per cent and it has cut its losses from 2005's $7.4 million. But its fourth-quarter losses still stand at $4.2 million.
And then there's Winnipeg-based McNally Robinson Booksellers. With stores in Saskatoon, Calgary and Manhattan, McNally Robinson, named bookstore of the year a record five times by the Canadian Booksellers Association, has become one of Canada's largest independent book chains. It has doubled its $30-million revenue since 2000 and will grow again in 2008, adding two new stores, including its first in Ontario, in the Toronto suburb of Don Mills. Two months ago, the Times of London's literary editor, Erica Wagner, named McNally Robinson as her favourite bookstore in New York City on the Charlie Rose show, drawing a knowing nod from the esteemed PBS host.