The last chapter in the 30-year-long history of the Cadboro Bay Book Company is coming to an end.
The little independent bookstore will be shutting its doors on Jan. 27 as the shop’s fifth owner, Patricia Jutras, retires, and couldn’t find somebody willing to take over for her.
“I have sort of come to a conclusion that a retired librarian who had won the lottery would be my perfect candidate. She could spend time with the books and talk to people, and wouldn’t have to worry about (the store) providing an income,” she said.
“I had maybe six serious inquiries. There are a lot of people who want to move to Victoria and run a romantic bookstore, but when we got to the bottom line, there wasn’t enough dollar signs there to make it attractive enough.”
Through the shop’s storied past, the book store has hosted a number of well-known authors, including Margaret Atwood, Maeve Binchy and Michael Ondaatje, and was recognized nationally as one of the best places to buy children’s books.
John Fear, vice-president of the Cadboro Bay Village Business Improvement Association, says the book store will be missed.
“There’s going to be a big hole left by it closing,” he said. “There’s nothing like the village bookstore. We’re going to miss it. It’s something else of value that’s disappearing.”
Jutras, who purchased Cadboro Bay Book Company in 2010, points to more than just the advent of e-readers as reasons why small bookstores are struggling. She says there’s been a notable consumer shift away from purchasing hardcover books, and retail competition is growing, with grocery and big box stores having growing book sections, not to mention websites that sell discounted books with inexpensive shipping.
“In Victoria, where we have lots of bookstores and also a very knowledgable reading public, people are more apt to buy more electronic devices for reading – I don’t know if the small store is going to be as successful,” Jutras, 62, said.
She hopes book stores will continue to thrive, and anticipates they’ll evolve into something reminiscent of vinyl records.
“They disappeared, and have gone around in a cycle and are now coming back again. Bookstores may become showcases for publishers in the future for people to come look at beautiful books,” Jutras said. “We’re always going to read – it’s just a matter of now we read in many different ways.”
While there is a closing date set for the bookstore, Jutras is holding out hope someone will come to its rescue.
“I really still have hopes of finding someone to take over this space so that my people have somewhere to go,” she said. “A bookstore is a very special place. When you’re in a bookstore, it’s very comforting.”
Cadboro Bay Book Company is located at 3840b Cadboro Bay Rd.