Revolution, society, sexuality and religion are amongst a few topics of books intricately sorted on the shelves at the Toronto Women’s Bookstore (TWB). Lining the wall of the two-story building, these books await to be chosen and read by feminists. But sadly, many may never get that chance.
The store is set to permanently close Nov. 30, 2012.
Filled with books that can single-handedly change perspectives and bring out the inner revolutionist, the TWB is Canada’s leading feminist source for literature. But Victoria Moreno, owner of TWB for the past two years, says the store has always struggled to keep open.
“The bookstore was created in 1973 due to a high demand for female authors – books written by women, for women – as a means of reference. It did very well in the ‘70s, but from the ‘80s on there was a drastic change and a decline in customers.”
Over the years, the bookstore has gone through many changes.
“It’s been run differently throughout each year,” says Moreno. “At one point it was solely run on collectives and volunteer work.”
To bring in a new cliental, Moreno broadened book topics to include arts and crafts, and even added of a cozy café.
“Although it was my vision to keep it alive, I’m unable to cover the overhead costs,” she says. “Even features like the café couldn’t help.” Moreno feels the digital era has taken away the bookstore experience from Torontonians.
“Website like Amazon make it easy to buy books and have them delivered,“ she says. But with feminist issues still on the rise, Moreno says the need for TWB is crucial. “There’s been an outcry of support from women to keep the bookstore going. Just last week the abortion debate was once again raised. Women need to have a source like the bookstore to turn too. It’s unfortunate we’re losing such a historic place.”
With the closing date only a month away, Moreno must clear out everything: chairs, tables and of course, the books.
“Hopefully the books can be sold in time. If not, they will be returned to suppliers,’ she says.
As she prepares herself for the final farewell, Moreno still has hope for the future.
“There is no comparison to making a personal connection with a book by picking it up off the shelf,” she says. “Perhaps someday, someone will rebuild the feminist bookstore.” M
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