Help save the Toronto Women’s Bookstore

Inside the Toronto Women's Bookstore (photo courtesy of flickr user 1310LGBTQ)

By: Ronak Ghorbani

For the past 36 years the Toronto Women’s Bookstore (73 Harbord St.)  has been a staple in the city’s women’s movement. I first heard about the store in my Canadian feminism class a few years ago and I remember walking into TWB for the first time and feeling overwhelmed by the amount of amazing work female writers have done.

Besides selling books, the bookstore makes a point of supporting zinsters and various independent publishers. They also run various courses/workshops ranging from economics to autobiographical writing. It is also one of the main locations McClung’s distributes to. The TWB is more than a bookstore, in many ways it’s a community centre.

Now, the TWB is danger of closing and we need to support the store to prevent this from happening. Toronto is already riddled with big-box bookstores and from working at one this past summer, I can tell you their women’s studies section is tiny (nearly nonexistent). Pages (another bookstore which used to be located on Queen Street) closed its doors in August, let’s not lose another independent bookstore – it’s up to us to support our local businesses. We have to help save something that is near and dear to our hearts, the Toronto Women’s Bookstore. You can donate in-store or online via PayPal.

If you’re on Facebook, join the event.

Here is the statement from their website:

Dear TWB community,

The Toronto Women’s Bookstore is in crisis and we need your help!

Independent businesses and bookstores have been closing their doors this year, and after 36 years it is possible that we will have to do the same if we are not able to raise enough money to survive. TWB is one of the only remaining non-profit feminist bookstores in North America, but despite all of the events, courses, workshops, community resources and additional services we offer, the fact that we are a store means that we do not receive any outside funding and rely entirely on sales and the support of our customers to stay in business.

Over the past few years, our sales have not been enough to sustain us and this is why we are coming to you, our community, for help. If every one of you donated $10 we would raise enough to keep going for 3 months, $20 each would keep us in business for 6 months, and $30 each would be enough for us to keep our doors open, hopefully for good. All donations will go directly towards covering the bookstore’s costs, and are a part of a larger plan of action and structural change to make the business sustainable in the current economy.

In the past, when feminist bookstores were closing down all across North America, the support of the community is what kept TWB alive. You are the reason that we are still here today, and we believe that with your help we can once again work together to save this organization where so many of us as readers, writers, feminists, artists, and activists have found a home.

You can make donations over the phone, on our website www.womensbookstore.com (a paypal link will be available soon), or in person at the store. As a non-profit store we are not eligible for charitable status and cannot offer tax receipts, but we are hoping to be able to offer tax receipts for donations over $100 in collaboration with a non-profit charity who shares our mandate, and if that can be arranged we will have that information available on our website and in store as soon as possible.

You can also help by spreading the word to your friends and community, contacting us if you know of any funding we might be eligible for, promoting this fundraising drive in your paper or on your blog, website or radio show, organizing your own save the bookstore fundraisers or just passing the hat at your holiday parties, giving a TWB donation as a gift, and of course, coming in and bringing all your friends to the store for some holiday shopping!

Thank you all for your support,
The Toronto Women’s Bookstore Board, Staff & Volunteers


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