The entrance of Black Bond Books at Central City Shopping Centre in Surrey. (submitted photo: Mark Britch)

Surrey book store feels #BOXEDOUT, takes aim at Amazon to save jobs and sales tax revenue

Central City's Black Bond Books location is dressed up for the buy-local campaign

A North Surrey book store has fired shots in a conversation about consumer choices, the challenges of small business and the threat of monopolies.

The Black Bond Books at Central City Shopping Centre is the first such retailer in Canada to participate in the American Booksellers Association’s #BOXEDOUT campaign, which takes aim at Amazon.

The campaign includes slogans such as “Don’t Let Indie Bookstores Become A Work Of Fiction” printed on boxes piled in the doorways and windows of shop fronts.

It ties in with Canadian Independent Bookstore Day on April 24, an initiative this year spearheaded by the newly formed Canadian Independent Booksellers Association with the goal of encouraging Canadians to support their local bookstore.

“Amazon’s influence is a problem that is relevant to Canada as well,” says a news release, as “131 Canadian independent bookstores have closed their doors permanently since 2012, six of which were Black Bond Books locations.”

Established in 1963, Black Bond is a locally-owned and family-run book retailer with four locations currently under that banner, down from 12 locations at the height of business.

Likewise, Book Warehouse owner Cathy Jesson has two locations under that banner, after buying from an operator who retired, in May 2012. At one time, the previous owner had eight Book Warehouse locations.

Both are online at bookwarehouse.ca.

The booksellers association says Amazon has been “boxing out” local bookstores and other small businesses across the country, “resulting in the loss of local jobs, local sales tax revenue and a sense of neighborhood personality, community and tradition.”

Meantime, Amazon’s net sales skyrocket.

“If you want us to be here tomorrow, you have to support us today,” Jesson notes in a news release, which says 46 cents of every dollar spent at Black Bond Books is kept in the community.

While all Black Bond Books’ stores have felt the effect of COVID-19 restrictions, the release says, “none has felt it as acutely as the location in Central City. Open since 1989, this location saw such a drop in traffic that it came very close to shutting the doors for good in December 2020. Though it was able to remain open, it is not out of the woods. While the cause would have been attributed to COVID-19, the pre-existing condition was and remains Amazon.”

For more details, visit https://www.bookwarehouse.ca.


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