Wednesday, August 29, 2007




THE LITTLE INDIE THAT COULD
How did a couple from WINNIPEG end up with the best bookstore in NYC?

These days, it ain't easy being a book superstore. Amazon.com and supermarket chains like Wal-Mart and Costco have put the squeeze on the giants. In May, New York-based Barnes & Noble Inc. reported first-quarter losses totalling $1.6 million, a distressing turnaround from the $10-million profit it posted a year earlier. Borders, which operates 1,200 stores worldwide, posted a $151-million loss for 2006. Its new CEO, George Jones, is shifting course, off-loading nearly half of its 564 Waldenbooks mall shops and its entire British fleet -- a move the Wall Street Journal dubbed a "stunning about-face," coming, as it does, on the heels of six years of aggressive overseas expansion.

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.
Also visit the website of the little indie that could - http://www.mcnallyrobinson.com/

3 comments:

Bella Lee said...

I'm an aussie, but I am living in Saskatoon, SK, Canada and I love McNally's. They are a 10 minute drive from my place and I always go there first for my books. It was great to see someone from near home that loves them so much too.

Bella

Amber said...

See the McNally Robinson homepage today - I emailed Holly to tell her about your post, and _they've_ now linked to _you_...and lo the circle is complete!

Bookman Beattie said...

Amber, thank you so much for this.
As a great fan of McNally Robinson I feel chuffed and honoured to receive such a super mention on their website.http://www.mcnallyrobinson.com/home
Even a cool little map of NZ!
Best wishes,
Bookman Beattie