Basilisk Dreams goes under

Via Locus Online, news that Ottawa’s specialty SF bookstore, Basilisk Dreams Books, is going out of business — a victim, they say, of chain bookstores and the Internet.

[O]ver the past year and a half, there has been a significant decline in sales, this is likely to continue and even be exacerbated over the fall and winter months, since the attributable causes are on-going. The large chain bookstores, who appear to be favoured by publishers and distributers in respect to delivery and payments, as well as direct sales through the Internet, have sliced into our business. To maintain our stock of new releases and backlist titles has become an on-going battle, both to secure delivery and to cover our financial commitments.

Unfortunately our Eighth Anniversary Sale did not generate the results we had hoped for. Even prolonging the sale for the whole month of August was equally disappointing. We could not attract sufficient clientele to keep us in business.

Specialty bookstores always complain about the chains and Amazon, but their former customers have other ideas about their lack of success — often it’s something else. Not that I know anything about these guys: when I was in Ottawa I always sort of enjoyed the store — though I found the customer service a little too hands-on — and will be sad to see it gone. Sometimes they had books that were otherwise hard to find, even online, and browsing the physical books is something that Amazon can’t replace. (But they’d never heard of Lucius Shepard or Howard Waldrop!)

Still, out here in the sticks, choosing Amazon over a 1½-hour drive and trying to find parking in the Glebe is kind of a no-brainer, regardless of the 30 per cent discounts.