Latest Passion

The Extinction of Bookstores and their Future

Bookstores offer more than books to buy. They are a place were memories are created, such as looking for ledges and secret corners to retrieve and read in.

Books offer various perspectives about life, and new worlds to explore. And the best part about reading books is that it is such a personal activity where we are the creators of our feelings in response to the experiences we read.

Unfortunately many bookstores in Toronto have been closing down, due to expiring and more expensive leases, as well as increased competition between online book retailers and electronic book readers.

Just last week, the World’s Biggest Book Store, a popular tourist spot, store and hangout have closed it’s doors for good. And the legendary Chapters at John and Richmond are to close May 30. Tip **Be on the lookout for up coming book sales**

A couple of other Book stores that closed earlier this year, or subject to close this year.

Chapters at John and Richmond

Chapters at John and Richmond. Subject to close

Book City: 348 Danforth Ave.

Book City: 348 Danforth Ave.           Closed

The cookbook store: Yonge & Yorkville

The cookbook store: Yonge & Yorkville.    Closed

Runnymede Chapters Indigo bookstore: 2225 Bloor St W.

Runnymede Chapters Indigo bookstore: 2225 Bloor St W.                                     Closed

BMV Books: 244 Queen St W

BMV Books: 244 Queen St W.                 Closed

To Mourn the loss of the World’s Biggest Bookstore- although it isn’t really, there is one in New York more than double its size. I have included a special section in this article about its history and origins as well as financial information.

The World’s Biggest Bookstore: 20 Edward St: 1 block away from Toronto Eaton Centre.

Before: Olympia bowling alley

Before 1979: Olympia Bowling Alley

After 1979: World's Biggest bookstore

After 1979: World’s Biggest Bookstore!

Owner History: The Cole family is the owner of Cole’s notes which published and sold literature and study guides. Jack Cole used to own two stores on Yonge and as soon as he found that the bowling Alley on 20 Edward Street was for sale he decided to act upon it and place an offer. As he thought that a massive bookstore would do well in Toronto.

And it did! It was a hit for 35 years! That is until its lease expired at the end of 2013,and was sold.

Purchase History: The building was a bowling alley before the Cole family decided to purchase it for $2.4 million in September 1979.According to reports, the property was purchased for a shade over $50 million this year.

Not a bad Investment!

The Future of the World’s Biggest Bookstore: Drew McGowen, vice-president of real estate and development for Indigo Book and Music Inc. said that the company reached the end of a lease and were unable to afford the new rent, which would be a whooping $1.5 million a year.

The Cole family is selling the space to a developer called Lifetime development which were behind Four Seasons Hotel and Liberty Market Lofts.

According to the Lifetime development president, Bernard Feinstein: “The bookstore will be replaced by four restaurants, which could be any of those larger concept restaurants…we’re not thinking $100 dinners, but something that is better than a fast-food chain.”

Reasons for the Extinction of the Bookstores:

There is severe pressure and competition from online book purchasing book services “Our biggest problem is Amazon,” states McNally owner of “Books on Bay St.”  Also Electronic book readers such as Kindle and Kobo are becoming increasingly common. At least 15% of the Canadian population is using a Ebook reader, while over 25% of Americans use a E-book reader. (Pew Research) These numbers are predicted to increase, especially with increased technological advances as well as the push for the use electronic textbooks in schools.


Pew Research, Centre. “Who owns e-book readers..” Tablet and E-reader Ownership Update. (2013): n. page. Web. 13 Mar. 2014. <>.

 About the Author: Nicole Noworyta is a student at the University of Toronto Pursuing a BSc in Psychology and CCIT. She has a strong passion for travel, and writes articles for our travel section. Nicole is also interested in reading and believes that books and education can be used to change the world.

About NicoleNowo (6 Articles)
Nicole is a energetic, travel and party loving student at the University of Toronto! She also enjoys hot dogs, road trips and long walks on the beach with EDM music. Find her on Instagram: @nicolenoworyta Find her on Facebook: Nicole Noworyta -Cheers!

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