Findings By Streetlight was inspired by Asti’sBookish Finds meme she does regularly on her blog A Bookish Heart. This feature will probably a semi-regular feature I do, not just about books but probably about things that interest me in general.
So I’ve talked about trying to support Independent Businesses/Local Businesses whenever possible and when it comes to Independent Bookstores, my philosophy is no different. I think I’m slowly beginning to understand the competition when it comes to chain vs. Independent bookstores. It’s difficult to keep up with the low prices and merchandise offered by chains. Nevertheless I’m really glad that there are Independent Bookstores still out there because they add variety and charm to the book buying experience. I actually got to have such an experience during Thanksgiving Weekend.I got to visit two bookstores: one is Mabel’s Fables and BMV on Yonge & Eglinton in Toronto.
From the outside.
I first heard of Mable’s Fables bookstore when Scholastic advertised that they would be selling autographed copies of Maggie Stiefvater’s new book The Dream Thieves. By that time I had already ordered my copy from Fountain Bookstore in the States,so I didn’t want to cancel that order. Anyways I also found out that they had received one of the special TDT copies-Maggie Stiefvater did some beautiful artwork on three copies and they were shipped to three Independent Bookstores. Mabel’s Fables received the copy of Ronan and Chainsaw :).
What first drew me to the bookstore was its name. I think it’s so cute and clever. I told my good friend Kristin about the store and it was her idea to go and check it out and I’m really glad that we did. Located on Mount Pleasant Road near Eglinton, Mabel’s Fables immediately reminded me of Harry Potter for some reason. I think it was probably the font used on the store name.When you walk around the shop there’s a side entrance that’s to be used instead of a main entrance.
When you first enter the store via the side entrance the first thing you see is the check out counter and some wonderful stationery to the right. There was also a window display of books and of Veronica Roth’s new book Allegiant. I believe it said pre-order the book since it wasn’t on sale at the time. The staff members were also super friendly and helpful. I explained to the staff member who came to greet us that I’d heard about the bookstore on the Scholastic Facebook Page. She then told us how the bookstore was divided. There are two floors to Mabel’s Fables and they are divided by age. I believe there are little lamp shades that indicate the age of each section. The first floor is from babies to ages 10 I believe. We didn’t really walk around the first floor which I kind of regret because it was so cute and adorable! There’s a Nook like area near the staircase which is their adult section. I believe all adult section books are 20% off everyday. At least that’s what I remember, but it would be helpful to doublecheck in case I didn’t see that properly.
I really loved the adult section of Mabel’s Fables. Even though it’s small since their focus is on Children’s books mainly I loved the titles that they had. It seemed like they did focus on having books by WOC which I really appreciated. It’s a bit difficult to look at the books freely because you’re sort of in the way of others, but everyone was really accommodating when we were looking at some of the titles.
The second floor was probably my favourite since we spent more time up there than on the first floor. It’s beautifully organized and I loved their displays. This floor was the section for ages 10 and up I believe. There were a lot of young adult and children’s titles. What I loved about their displays was how they actually displayed books by authors of colour and books that featured pocs. I couldn’t get some pictures of the titles that were displayed, but one of my favourite books this year My Basmati Bat Mitzvah was displayed clearly and in a noticeable place, same goes for the title If You Could be Mine by Sara Farizan. I haven’t read that title, but I remember seeing it on Netgalley.
I also bought two books while my friend also purchased gifts for her little sister.
As I was looking through the Mabel’s Fables website I was really surprised to find out that it had been around for 25 years! I don’t know why that shocked me, but it did. It might also be because I’m not really aware of how many independent bookstores are around in Toronto. I’ve been making a conscious effort to try and find some of them. But I don’t live in the heart of Toronto and considering how direction impaired I am, I feel like I need to visit these places with people who are better with directions than I am. Thank goodness Kristin is that person
Oh and another thing I discovered via the Mabel’s Fable’s Website is the Baby Basket they create for newborns! I think this is so cool and I wish I had heard about it three years ago when a family friend had a baby boy! It’s supposed to be a “Child’s First Library of books and music.” I really like this concept. I would love to give this as a present to a newborn. I know I would have loved it as a baby lol ;).
Diary of a Wimpy Kid display.
I heard of BMV through Kristin. It’s a used bookstore chain with locations in Toronto. The one we went to is on Yonge and Eglinton. According to their website the chain was started in 1997 with the idea of wanting to sell good books at good prices. They certainly adhere to that philosophy because all their books were in really good. A part of me wishes that I had sold most of my books to them instead of donating my books to the library, but it’s all good. I’m sure I can find some books to sell to them as well ;). Again there were two floors at this location. The first floor was focusing on fiction, new age, contemporary, biographies etc. We also noticed that a lot of Alice Munro’s books were sold considering that she won the Nobel Prize for literature this year :). I’ve never read any of her books, I’d like to know what some of her best works are.
The second floor was my favourite because this was where they had Graphic Novels,Comics, Children’s Literature, YA Lit, Fantasy, Geography, Photography sections. I was so impressed with the condition of the books there and I told my friend that if I was going to go bankrupt I was going to be blaming her :P. There were Enid Blyton’s books too! I was surprised by that, then again I shouldn’t be because it is a used bookstore and the chances of ever finding Blyton’s work would be at a used bookstore.
My only pet peeve was that they don’t take debit/credit unless your total is more than $4.00 I believe. I rarely carry cash on me, so that was kind of a downer. But other than that I had a really great experience here as well. I would love to visit their branch on Spadina. I’d probably go crazy there for sure!
You can tell I’m really short since I couldn’t even get the picture of the sign properly.
Finally here are my purchases from both Mabel’s Fables and BMV
My Basmati Bat Mitzvah by Paula J. Freedman
This one was from Mabel’s Fables. I was so happy that this was one of the books that was displayed on the second floor where it’s directly visible to the customers. I loved that I found it so easily.
Matilda by Roald Dahl
I never read Dahl’s work as a child, but my cousin who came over to visit me during the Summer raved about Matilda and I’ve seen a few other friends talk about it so I decided to buy myself a copy. This one is from BMV and it was only about $3.00. Thanks Kristin for buying to for me!
Geek Girl by Holly Smale
I’ve heard a lot of good things about this one! It sounds like it would be a really fun read and I love the cover as well.
That’s it from me for this post! Have you been to these bookstores? Have you read these books? Do you visit Indie bookstores often?
Let me know your thoughts!