Another Bookstore Lesson

I dropped in on Book City’s Danforth Avenue store, fresh from buying a Big Carrot tofurkey for the vegetarian troublemakers around our Christmas table.

The elder statesman of the Toronto chain, the eminent Frans Donker, happened to be in the store, and greeted me warmly. He urged me to sign the two copies of my book, then went looking for a third copy out on the shelves. He returned, shaking his head over that copy. The flap had been carefully folded over to mark a place two-thirds of the way through the book. Some anonymous browser had apparently been working his or her way through the book, and was nearing the end — without any messy expenditure of dollars.

I’m torn between pleasure that this discriminating reader would sacrifice a part of lunch-hour each day to drink in my stories — and outrage that the book is being devoured for free. I’d love to meet the culprit. We could have an interesting conversation.

As for the life of a bookseller, who could have predicted this?

— Douglas Gibson

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