The holiday season is here, and many people will give books as gifts. One local book seller, hoping to capture some of the market, is learning to ride the wave of technology in his business.
Bill Minors, 69, and has owned his shop Books Galore in Port Perry for 22 years but has loved books since the age of seven.
Minors was born in Scotland where he fell in love with reading historical fiction. He was encouraged by his family to read, which is why he chose to eventually publish books.
“Since I was a child I’ve always been an avid reader,” he said
At 25, Minors started working for a publishing company in New Zealand called Hodder and Stoughton. He worked there for many years before leaving for Canada.
He moved to Scarborough where he worked for the Coles bookstore, as a manager and with marketing. He also worked for a legal publishing company.
In 1995, he realized it was time to start his own business.
Minors was looking for a place to start a book store but Scarborough was too expensive. He visited Port Perry and saw a store on the corner and knew it was the one.
Minors bought the store and moved up to Port Perry with his wife Kathy and two daughters, Alison and Heather.
Since opening his book store, he said he has been successful in part because he supports local authors.
Minors provides them with space for book signings in his store and helps them showcase their books, as well.
“As being the local book seller I have to encourage local authors,” said Minors. “This is usually the first place they come. Where else are they going to go?”
As much as Minors supports local authors, he has never wanted to write a book of his own. He says it’s because it is too much work and he’s “not talented enough.”
“I read them, I don’t write them, “ he said.
He has not always had success. Minors said he’s had to learn about what women read, since the market is dominated by them.
He says he also has to be flexible with the type of books he sells. He currently sells new and used but only in paperback.
“The great majority of books are bought by women and some of the books bought by men are for women,” said Minors. “I wouldn’t last very long if I set to rally men.”
Minors calls himself a “dinosaur” because he has not adopted technology into his store.
He recently started a website but still uses an old desktop computer. He feels technology takes away from his business, but he is still staying alive.
“First there was Amazon, then the Kindle that affected everybody,” said Minors. “I have people come in and say they have it on their Kindle, so it hurt, it hurt everybody.”
A survey this year showed 90 per cent of Canadians prefer to read print books, while 48 per cent prefer to read e-books.
According to Book Net Canada, 35 per cent of people in Canada also participate in book clubs.
Minors’ sales increase over Christmas because he sells used books. Customers come to his store because they can’t get these older books anywhere else.
“I survive because I have used books. If I just sold new books I wouldn’t be here,” said Minors. “I do both and between the two I get by to survive.”
Minors is pleased to turn the page on technology and continue into to the future.